Sunday, January 27, 2013

Dessert First Tonight

I've just been to a pig roast at the local Rumbo Al Sur! Tomorrow, I'll have the story up, along with a photo or two. As I continue to salivate over Rumbo's Margarita (Key Lime) pie that I'll shamelessly finish for tomorrow's breakfast, I've become nostalgic about eating with family back home. I've only been gone a month, and already I miss them.

Friday night, I read Joyce Maynard's beautiful and poignant "Pie," an essay about how baking transformed a tense mother-daughter relationship and so I'm inspired to share a found-photo. I have no idea what the pie was–I'm guessing Cheesecake or Lemon Merengue–and I'm not sure of the occasion, but I do know the dessert was a loving gift from my mother. She takes such good care of everyone around mealtimes.

We're all well past thirty now, but still at Christmas brunch my mother and stepfather offer us grapefruit halves they've delicately cut the night before so we have less work to do with our grapefruit spoons. They even individually-wrap our bowls in Saran Wrap. In the morning, they often add a Maraschino cherry. Perfectly centered, by the way. How I love their finishing touches.

Is there a certain meaningful dessert in your family? One longstanding recipe on my mother's side is frozen fruit salad, a sort of sherbet-tasting dish of cream, peaches, bananas and nuts with a dollop of lemon curd. A perfect combination of creamy, tangy, cold and chewy. I hope you'll try your hand at it some time.  Happy baking, cooking, freezing. All that jazz. 

Frozen Fruit Salad (circa 1950?) 

  • 2 small packages (3 ounces each) cream cheese
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup heavy cream, whipped
  • 1/2 cup maraschino red cherries, quartered
  • 1/2 cup green maraschino cherries, quartered (or use all red)
  • 1 can fruit cocktail (16 or 20 ounce size), drained
  • 2 1/2 cups diced marshmallows, about 24 marshmallows
Beat together the cream cheese and mayonnaise. Fold in whipped cream, cherries, drained fruit cocktail, and marshmallows. Pour into a 1-quart freezer container. Garnish with additional maraschino cherries.
Freeze fruit salad until firm.
Frozen fruit salad serves 8.

Note: This isn't my mother's recipe, but I think you'll get the gist.

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