Thursday, August 28, 2014

Frozen Fruit Salad, a classic dessert – updated and all dressed up


It's been very warm here the last several weeks so I'm taking advantage of the last days of summer with a frozen fruit salad. Summer is my favorite season and I never seem to want to let it go.

Frozen fruit salad is a classic frozen dessert, quite refreshing for a hot day, and a favorite of busy moms as an alternative to ice cream without the churning. As a child, during the summer there was always a tray of frozen fruit salad in my mother’s freezer. Old- fashion frozen fruit salads from the fifties were a mixture of cream cheese, whipped heavy cream or Cool Whip, mayonnaise, and miniature marshmallows combined with drained fruit cocktail, chopped canned pineapple, grapes, and sometimes maraschino cherries, frozen in metal ice trays and sliced while still frozen. It was either served as simple dessert to cool the palate, or for fancy occasions and ladies luncheons, as a salad on a big curly leaf of lettuce.

Enter the Lee brothers, Matt and Ted, two classy southern gentlemen from Charleston, South Carolina, known for their culinary Low Country lore and numerous cookbooks for southerners and would-be southerners. The brothers updated this frozen treat and turned it into a very glamorous dessert that they’ve named Strawberry Delight. The Lee’s version of frozen fruit salad is a cream and buttermilk mixture, swirled with fresh strawberry sauce, tiny marshmallows with an added crunch of crispy vanilla wafers and toasted pecans. Frozen fruit salad is very easy to make, but it does require a bit of stirring on your part to keep the ingredients evenly distributed and for the dish to set up properly. It’s as easy as opening the freezer, stirring, and returning the loaf pan back to the freezer a couple of times until it’s ready to serve. The recipe makes a lot, so we divided in half and used one small loaf.



The only things I might add is that it’s nice to chill the serving platter and plates in the freezer, but never chill the forks. Instead, place the forks in the refrigerator for a few minutes before serving. Look to your garden for flowers and greenery and choose whatever is fresh. If you want to make the dish your own, simply use the recipe as an outline for other fruit choices. I always enjoy sliced grapes in frozen fruit salad.

The Lee brothers suggest you serve this elegant but simple dessert by “turning the entire frozen loaf upside down onto a platter, surround with flowers and greenery, and slice off individual portions with a knife – a silver one of course, the blade warmed first in hot water. After all, in Charleston, it’s all about the ceremony.” 



Strawberry Delight
From Chefs Matt & Ted Lee & Garden & Gun magazine, - serves 8

1 lb. fresh strawberries, trimmed and halved
⅔ cup sugar, divided
1  pint heavy cream
2  pinches kosher salt
1  cup half-and-half
1  cup buttermilk, preferably whole
24  vanilla wafer cookies (about 3 oz.), crumbled to oyster-cracker-size pieces
1  cup chopped pecans, toasted
3  oz. mini-marshmallows (about 2 cups)

Here’s a link to the full recipe itself with pictures and instructions and another link to a printable copy. The recipe takes 1 hour, plus 4 to 6 hours to set. For the Lee brother’s charming story behind their development of the recipe and their quest to wrangle the recipe from a plantation owner and her cook, follow this link to the article in Garden and Gun magazine.

For better viewing, click on photos to enlarge.



This will be shared with Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farm, Miz Helen’s Country Kitchen Full Plate Thursday, and Foodie Friday at Simple Recipes.  

Have a great weekend everyone.

48 comments:

  1. This is such a colourful salad, the perfect way to enjoy all that summer has to offer. It has been overly hot for most of the summer so I am enjoying a little cooler weather and trips to the farmers market.

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  2. Pretty and surely extremely enjoyable! A wonderful dessert.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  3. Long time no see, my friend! I am finally sticking my toe back in the blogging pool, and I loved seeing this roll up on my reader this morning! :-).

    We just had a conversation about the frozen desserts and the tomato aspic of childhood and how much we miss them. This really looks like it would hit the spot!

    Hope you and your sweetie are both well and enjoying summer. It has been crazy around here, but that is no surprise. We have actually had a relatively pleasant summer here in Florida with a few exceptions like last Saturday, but for the most part, it has been nice. I bet it has been beautiful in NC.

    Thanks for sharing this recipe, Sam. I can't wait to try it!

    Sending love your way...

    xo

    Sheila :-)

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  4. We often had this in our freezer growing up. The last time I had it was at a bridal luncheon for my niece at the Swan Coach House in Atlanta. I made a mental note to serve it at a luncheon. Now you've jogged my memory. Beautiful presentation.

    Best,
    Bonnie

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  5. We never had frozen fruit salad growing up! This version is very pretty.

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  6. Like a garden on a plate:)
    So so pretty!

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  7. I want to make this frozen fruit salad. It looks fabulous. As always your blog is great!

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  8. This looks soo good Sam and I can almost taste it from here.

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  9. Absolutely delicious!! Blessings, Catherine

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  10. BONITO Y DELICIOSO, estoy segura de ello :))))

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  11. What a wonderful dessert Sam, your presentation is gorgeous!!

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  12. looks good new to me is it just like ice cream?

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    1. Rebecca, it's similar to ice cream but firmer and has the marshmallows in it, so it has an airier texture.
      Sam

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  13. this is just the prettiest dessert! so lovely - what a great idea - it's sweltering here at the moment so guess whats on the menu!!
    Mary

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  14. Very pretty indeed Sam! I've never heard of frozen fruit salad before, it looks cool! Happy Labor Day Weekend:@)

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  15. Hello Sam
    This looks so refreshing and perfect for hot Charleston nights. How we love that city and go at the first opportunity.

    Thanks for sharing

    Helen xx

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  16. It reminds me of the jello mold salads of the 70's except those weren't as tasty looking as these. I think it's the wafers in there.

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  17. So it's sort of like a semifreddo fruitcake! Looks delicious!

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  18. That is so beautiful. I've had a lot of fruit salad, but never a frozen one. Perhaps we'll have a few more hot days that I can try this out for an after school treat with the kids that's just a tad more fancy. Thanks for sharing on Foodie Friday

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  19. What a delightful icy dessert for the summer! And I love the beautiful presentation, Sam.

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  20. A fresh, cool addition to any meal--and pretty as a jewel box.

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  21. This is a beautiful and updated version of... so many things! I love it, a fresh and fruity treat for everyday, for a dinner party or a summer barbecue. It's beautiful!!

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  22. Ah, this takes me back to the ladies' luncheons my mother had! I still think it's perfect.

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  23. That is a great salad or dessert to celebrate summer! Refreshing....I must give this a try!

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  24. Very beautiful salad, and so different. Would love to make it, but I really dislike buttermilk. Can I substitute regular milk or something else? Additional half and half? I know buttermilk adds the tang and that is what I dislike about it. Thanks. :-)

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    1. Barbara, I would think you could add more cream, but I have not tested the recipe that way. The taste of buttermilk does not come through however and I did not taste it at all. But if you don't like it, then you don't like it and that is okay. Old recipes for frozen fruit salad used all cream, but you could try half-and-half. I wish I had a definitive answer, but without testing it I don't.
      Sam

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  25. One of my aunts used to make a version of this. She would serve me on the "good" china and silver and made me feel so very special and grown up. Perhaps I'll make one to bring back those memories.

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    1. I hope you do bring back those memories. I always use my good silver and almost always use my good china except in photo (too much glare) and it is indeed makes every occasional special.
      Sam

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  26. My kids still demand the frozen fruit salad of yester-year if I'm cooking for the holidays. That 50's version our mother's made. (Mayo, pineapple and maraschino cherries!) Your version of that old favorite is spot on, Sam. Love the fresh fruit, buttermilk and cookies! Such a lovely presentation too.

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  27. This is something that I missed out on growing up so I'm glad you shared the recipe.

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  28. This is great, Sam! I remember mom making this when I was growing up. I love your updated version and have bookmarked it. Thanks for the recipe and the memories!

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  29. What a beautiful dessert! I can just imagine this being served on a southern patio on a warm, summer day. I made semifreddo for the first time this summer and I'd love to try this lovely frozen delight too.

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  30. Very similar to one my mother used to make -- though she used canned fruit cocktail for this summer standby.

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  31. Love it! A beautiful dessert for the dog days of summer.

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  32. Oh this is a beauty. I need to have another barbecue as an excuse to make this. Love the idea of the frozen grapes - and maybe some frozen berries. I remember horrid fruit ambrosias in the past - but this has none of the glop and lots of the creaminess of an ice-cream. Even low-carb Claudia would put this on the table (with others!).

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  33. This is the prettiest dessert ever!

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  34. Very pretty Sam. I think I will make it this week!

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  35. It's a beautiful dessert and I must say, I've never seen such a recipe. This will be a wonderful crowd pleaser at my next gathering. Thanks for sharing

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  36. i grew up eating fruit salad at every church potluck or school event but i have never had frozen version. I love icy cold fruit so I know I would love this! Looks delicious

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  37. Oh my dear, you and your inhouse photographer have really outdone yourselves this time. It looks like Christmas in August! My mother has someting like this, although not frozen, that used to be one of my favorite things when I was a young child. Come to think of it, it still is and I have the recipe somewhere all written out in a black notebook I kept as a newlywed. I loved all those salads, particularly tomato aspic. We really must bring them back.
    As a transplanted Southener, I have felt it my duty to start reading G&G on ocassion. Interesting. As I write this, your nectarine tart is beckoning from the fray, hmmmm. Time to go pick some up!

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  38. Hi Sam, Thanks for visiting my blog. Larry and Bev are great friends --and we did have a great time visiting their gorgeous home--and eating some of his delicious food... I love it how all of your great chefs/cooks have learned from each other ---and share recipes with all of us.. Thanks so much. The Strawberry Delight looks delicious. Thanks for the recipe... YUM.... Please come back to my blog anytime...

    Hugs,
    Betsy

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    1. I meant all of "YOU" great chefs... Should have read it before publishing it... Duh...

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  39. Oh, Goodness!! I was just thinking of Miss Jerry's Frozen Cherry Salad!! We were discussing another old Southern freezer dessert called Lemon Bisque, and which I'll bet I find the recipe for in the great huge box of recipes I liberated from my parents' kitchen when Daddy sold the family home. The lemon one was VERY Southern---an almost-frozen can of Pet milk beaten til stiff, with a tiny can of lemonade concentrate whipped in. Bottom crust of crushed graham crackers, with a couple of tablespoons left over for the authentic look---a scatter of crumbs over the top. Only made and served in the flappy-handled double-trays which came with the Frigidaire refrigerator. I can remember trying to open the freezer and lower that little flappy handle quietly enough to sneak a tiny fingertip off the side with no one catching me.

    Miss Jerry's was a Church Supper special, and she'd bring in the big platter, with the loaf pan wrapped round and round with bath towels over the Saran, so it would stay solidly frozen on the drive. She'd head for the kitchen, grab a few frilly-lettuce leaves out of a baggie in her purse, and run a knife around the edges to flip out the deep-pink loaf (Queen Anne cherries, maybe with part of the juice in the cream, I think). She'd slice it deftly with a long sharp knife, and I don't think a lady in the crowd ever got even a taste. As a matter of fact she sliced it first because one of the guys had been prone to beat everyone to the table and hack off about half of it for himself.

    The men would make a bee-line for that as soon as they swallowed the last bite of fried chicken, and it would disappear like smoke, leaving only the forlorn lettuce, with tiny puddles of pink to mark its passing.

    What a lovely memory of such long-ago treats!

    rchl

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  40. OMG Sam! What a beautiful fruit salad...I love the color and the shape of this frozen dessert...
    Hope you are enjoying your week :D

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  41. Sam,
    What a trip down memory lane and such a delicious treat at the end of the journey. How I loved these classic desserts and the elegant presentations that went into the entire meal. You have certainly made the old masters proud with your presentation and inspired me to once again go back into a time of joy and elegance. I loved reading the comments to this post, especially Racheld, what a precious story. Thank you so much for sharing this awesome post with Full Plate Thursday and hope you are having a fantastic weekend!
    Come Back Soon,
    Miz Helen

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  42. Congratulations Sam!
    Your recipe is featured on Full Plate Thursday this week. Hope you are having a great day and enjoy your new Red Plate!
    Miz Helen

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