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what the family holds

  • Aug. 23rd, 2011 at 3:55 PM
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This is a dessert straight out of Minnesota. My Grandmother had a cousin named Ruth who still lived where my Grandma had grown up. Ruth had some recipes that were truly great (that she shared with the family) and some other recipes that would leave Grandma uttering the infamously subtle comment, "well that's different." I think the snickers bar salad earned that. As for the fantastic recipes there was Cherries in the Snow. My Mother remembers eating it on a visit to the old country (which is what we refer to Minnesota, in our family) when she was a child. It was a revelation. It was perfection. It was the desserts to end all her desserts in her mind. Grandma got the recipe from Ruth and after that it became my Mother's birthday request. I recall being about three and Cherries in the Snow was produced. I have faint memories of thinking it was pretty amazing. Eventually I learned to make it and have since produced it a few times for my Mom; thus earning "favorite child" status for the day.

As for the recipe itself it is one of those things that falls under the heading of no-bake desserts. You take a packet of graham crackers and mash them into oblivion (an excuse to break out the rolling pin and work out any aggression) and combine the crumbs (in a bowl) with a 1/3 a cup of melted butter. I will admit sometimes the cracker crumbs decide to not cooperate so one melts down a full stick (1/2 cup) of butter. You also add 1/4 cup of sugar. You take this wet sandy-like concoction and spread it into the bottom of an 8x8 pan. Pressing with your fingers if you are a heathen like myself. The more civilized of us can use the bottom of a measuring cup. Once it is spread nice and neat you put that in the fridge for an hour so it can firm up. As you put this in the fridge, take out an 8 oz package of cream cheese. It needs to soften a bit. In the mean time you get get on the party line and listen to the good gossip about who needs an operation for what or the real reason why Elna's hair is still so mysteriously red. Or you can look at twitter. My Mom refers to twitter as being the modern party line.

Now for the filling. Cream cheese and whipped cream. Everyone looks up and pays attention, "oh hey can I lick the beaters?" "well I HAVE to make it first." You will take your softened cream cheese and mix it together with 2/3 of a cup of sugar. Some like things a little sweeter and others like it less sweet. You can always start by adding 1/3 a cup and see how you feel. These are personal things. Put that to one side and then whip up a cup of cream. You will want stiff peaks but as always you want to avoid over-beating and risking the possibility of making butter. I have done that. It isn't a bad thing to find that you have made butter. As mistakes go that is a pretty delightful one. But then you have to wash the bowl, start over and you will still have people asking you when they can lick the beaters. SOOON. If you haven't accidentally made butter and actually lucked out with whipped cream you will fold that into the sweetened cream cheese mixture. Huzzah. You will spread that on top of the graham cracker crust all the way to the edges. Now for the topping. Remember that this is a dessert that evokes a certain era so you don't need to source an obscure variety of cherries and make a sauce that once made Alice Waters quiver. You take a good quality can of cherry pie filling, maybe add a little lemon juice if you need a touch more tartness to it and then spread it on top of the cream cheese/whipped cream filling. Make sure you leave a bit of a border all around so that you do right by the title of the dessert. It should be a slightly electric effect. The bright neon-like glow of the cherries against the stark whiteness of the filling. Pop that back in the fridge for another hour so that things set just so. Let people lick spoons and bowls. Have yourself a drink. Then it is time for dessert. It is rich and smooth and you too will be transported to Minnesota circa 1960.

Comments

upna wrote:
Aug. 24th, 2011 12:09 am (UTC)
Oh man, you just wrote about my -childhood-. Cherries in the Snow is such a better name than "no-bake cheesecake" but then again, Lutherans are just kind of that way. This dessert made it's first appearance of the season on Thanksgiving and then again for Christmas. De rigueur for all funerals, regardless of the time of year. Le sigh...

I want to eat it right nowwww!
au_gout wrote:
Aug. 24th, 2011 12:37 am (UTC)
I wonder if the name was inspired by the lipstick shade which debuted in 1953. You can see the first ad here.
upna wrote:
Aug. 24th, 2011 02:01 pm (UTC)
Oh wow. A lipstick ad you have to -read-! "Black lace thoughts" you say? Love it!
au_gout wrote:
Aug. 24th, 2011 07:06 pm (UTC)
There was a real art to the names and advertising campaigns for lipstick shades back then. Revlon really had a knack for it.
upna wrote:
Aug. 25th, 2011 02:37 am (UTC)
People were more literate back then...le sigh
brainchild129 wrote:
Aug. 24th, 2011 12:13 am (UTC)
Is that what that is? My mom makes something similiar with Cool Whip and blueberry pie filling (because my dad hates cherries). It's pure, unhealthy Midwestern potluck faire, but it's not half bad.
au_gout wrote:
Aug. 24th, 2011 12:39 am (UTC)
Hey now... cream cheese is good for you...sorta. Truly fantastic stuff to eat. It comforts and pleases the eye. Everyone looks at it and goes, "oooh don't mind if I have a slice."
brainchild129 wrote:
Aug. 24th, 2011 02:05 am (UTC)
She also has made that infamous Snickers salad (which is basically just cut up Snickers, Cool Whip, and diced apple). It's actually been a big hit with the relatives, because she usually only makes it for family get-togethers.
kitchenwitch wrote:
Aug. 24th, 2011 03:40 pm (UTC)
I love that Snickers salad, I do.
au_gout wrote:
Aug. 24th, 2011 07:06 pm (UTC)
Well delicious is delicious.
au_gout wrote:
Aug. 24th, 2011 07:07 pm (UTC)
Well dang can I be related to you if that is being served up?
needlediva wrote:
Aug. 24th, 2011 02:02 am (UTC)
i would point out that even tho the recipe says a can of cherry pie filling, my mother usually got some frozen pie cherries out of the freezer, and made her own from scratch. cause she was like that.
au_gout wrote:
Aug. 24th, 2011 07:07 pm (UTC)
You know Grandma would have made a heck of a smug mommy.
cigale wrote:
Aug. 24th, 2011 06:47 pm (UTC)
Ah! My step MIL (gotta be specific about these things) made something extremely similar recently. We're in MN :)
au_gout wrote:
Aug. 24th, 2011 07:07 pm (UTC)
Did people enjoy it?
cigale wrote:
Aug. 31st, 2011 11:02 pm (UTC)
I did! I think it's one of my FIL's favorite
cutebutpsycho99 wrote:
Aug. 25th, 2011 02:31 am (UTC)
I've had this! I might have to try making it someday just to honor my midwestern roots.

Then serve dumplings for dinner.
ms_pooka wrote:
Aug. 25th, 2011 10:12 pm (UTC)
CHERRIES IN THE SNOW. i can't tell you how enamoured i am of that name. it's bringing back memories of long ago, tuesday, where i found myself standing transfixed near a bin of pink pearl apples.
tawneyzev wrote:
Nov. 1st, 2011 09:47 pm (UTC)
For some reason, I can’t see all of this content, stuff keeps hiding? Are you taking advantage of java?

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