When I first read the title of this recipe I couldn’t imagine the dish. I thought maybe someone made a cheesecake and put a lot of fruit cocktail in it. And fruit cocktail is just not fruit, in my world. So I didn’t think I was going to be interested in making the dish. Then I read the ingredients. And I was smitten.
I remember the recipe my mom made in the 60s and 70s called ‘Dry Jello Salad’. She made it for special occasions, like holidays or church potluck dinner. You couldn’t go to a church potluck dinner without at least 5 different women bringing their version of the salad. I loved it, because I loved cottage cheese. I’d watched my mom make it so I knew it was in there.
The only thing I didn’t like about dry jello salad was the fruit cocktail. Those were fruits I didn’t like, or didn’t think they tasted like good fruit. When I had a family of my own I maybe made the salad twice, using my mom’s recipe from the church cookbook. Both times it ended up runny and inedible. I have no idea what I did wrong; I simply stopped making it.
So with that history, when I read this recipe I was thrilled that it called for a box of the cheesecake flavored pudding. I just LOVE that pudding, and use it often in making things like trifle. I always have a box or two of it on hand. The recipe didn’t call for cottage cheese, but it had ingredients I normally had on hand.
Pears were so good this year, in November, and my P.S. (Pear Supplier/hubby) bought a cute little bag full of pears twice. We ate them sliced, diced and put in all kinds of dishes. I thought they’d be great in this fruit salad. Along with a pint of fresh raspberries, it would be nice and colorful.
I put 1 ½ cups of Cool Whip into a larger bowl, added the two small containers of strawberry yogurt, and dumped the box of cheesecake flavored pudding on top. I stirred it well.
I left the skins on the pears, and cored them. I cut them into 1” cubes and added them to the pudding mixture. I rinsed off the pint of raspberries and folded them into the mixture as well.
It was ready to refrigerate! I had mixed it two or three hours before dinner, so the pudding had time to dissolve into the mixture. It stiffened the salad nicely, unlike my attempts at dry jello salad years ago.
I served the fruit salad at our second Thanksgiving dinner, and it was a hit. It truly does taste just like cheesecake with pears and raspberries. All that was missing was the graham cracker crust!
I may have just found a new fruit salad that will be a regular on the holiday buffets! And it’s so easy, it can be made just hours before the meal.
Cheesecake Fruit Salad
1 small box dry cheesecake pudding
2 8 ounce containers strawberry yogurt (I used Yoplait Light)
1 ½ cups Cool Whip
3 cups of fruit (suggestions: sliced strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, pears, peaches, blackberries, kiwi, apple)
Mix the pudding, yogurt and Cool Whip together until blended. Fold in fruit and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.