Sunday, July 27, 2014

Retro Pineapple and Cream Cheese Congealed Lime Salad with Toasted Pecans

Congealed salads are back, and Southerners love their gelatin salads!  One of my favorite dishes at a Southern cafeteria is a creamy congealed salad...somewhat like a dessert, but served as a side dish, you know we Southerners like our sweets, y'all!

Cool and creamy with a little crunch, this pineapple salad is perfect for summer and very versatile.  Traditionally, it would be served as a side; however, with its beautiful layers, it would make a stunning presentation as an appetizer and served as a spread with buttery crackers.  Also, it would make a wonderful light dessert served with a dollop of homemade whipped cream. 

                                           However You Serve It...
                                              They'll Love It!

I originally planned on making a pear congealed salad called "Under-The-Sea Pear Salad", which I found in my vintage The New Joys of Jell-O recipe book, 2nd edition, 1974.  It's interesting that the available weights of the products back then were different than now...I found pretty much the same recipe on Kraft's recipe site; but with a couple of changes.  They called it "Under-The-Sea Salad", brought the available product weights up to date, and changed the original suggested 1/8 tsp. of ginger to 1/8 tsp. of cinnamon.

Oh, I digress, so I was going to make a pear salad; but when measuring the pans to suggest for the recipe, I decided to add detergent to my utensils.  Apparently I didn't rinse the measuring cup, which I added detergent to also.  When I drained the pears into the measuring cup, I noticed that the juice looked unordinarily foamy...oops!  Out went the pear juice!  I found a can of crushed pineapple in the pantry and decided to make a pineapple salad instead.

I changed the ingredients for the pineapple salad quite a bit from the pear salad that I originally planned on making.  I do believe I developed what I wanted all along; after all, we know that good things sometimes come from mistakes!

Serves approx. 4-6

  • 20 oz. can crushed pineapple in 100% pineapple juice, drained...reserve 1 c. of the juice (Don't be tempted to use all of the juice from the can in this recipe...about 1 1/3 cup...that would be too much for the gelatin.)
  • 3 oz. pkg. of lime gelatin
  • 3/4 c. boiling water
  • 1 TB lime juice (I used Key West)
  • 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
  • 1/2 c. toasted, medium-chopped pecans*
  • Non-stick butter-flavored cooking spray

Suggested Garnishes (optional)
  • 2 or 3 fresh cherries w/stems (or maraschino cherries w/stems)
  • homemade whipped cream

  1. Lightly coat a 4 c. mold or 8" x 4" loaf pan with the cooking spray.
  2. Using a 1 qt. bowl, dissolve the gelatin in the boiling water.  Add the reserved cup of pineapple juice and the TB of lime juice. 
  3. Measure 1 1/4 c. of this mixture into the prepared mold.  Chill about 1 hr. until set, but not firm (the gelatin sticks to your finger when touched and mounds or moves to the side when tilted).
  4. About 1/2 hr. after you place the above mixture in the refrigerator to chill:  Soften the cream cheese using the wire whip on your mixer.  Beginning with low speed and gradually increasing to medium speed, very slowly blend in the remaining gelatin, beating until smooth.
  5. Stir in the drained pineapple and the toasted pecans.  Spoon over the set gelatin in the mold.  (This will recipe completely fill a 4 c. mold.)
  6. Chill until firm (about 4 hrs.) or overnight...I prefer overnight.  Unmold* onto a chilled serving plate, and garnish with the cherries.  Keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to a week.

  1. For a simple method of toasting pecans, see my Light and Refreshing Orange Salad Enhanced with Pomegranate and Tossed with Toasted Pecans.
  2. For homemade whipped cream, see my Hawaiian Mini Banana Split Bundt Cakes with Butter Pecan Glaze.
  3. Recipe may be doubled by using a 9" x 5" loaf pan or an 8 c. mold.
  4. To unmold:  Use a small pointed, thin-bladed knife (or a plastic collar stay...if you're so lucky to have), dipped in warm water, to loosen the top edge of the salad.  Place the mold in warm (not hot) water for about 10 seconds.  Remove from the water; and holding upright, shake slightly to loosen the gelatin.  Slightly moisten the top of the salad and a chilled serving plate with cold water. (This will allow the molded gelatin to move if necessary, so you can center on the plate.)  Place the moistened plate over the mold and invert. With one hand on top of the mold and the other hand under the plate, carefully give the mold a good shake.  Lift the mold carefully; and if the gelatin doesn't release easily, briefly dip the mold in warm water again.

Enjoy as a refreshing side salad or appetizer spread with buttery crackers, or as a light dessert with homemade whipped cream.

Printable Recipe 


  1. Sounds like I'm rubbing off on you Bonnie, I mean the oops thing, ha ha! This sound like a wonderful side for a nice big juicy ham steak during the summer. Oh and by the way, my mom, a Yankee, always made jello molds especially for holiday meals like Easter, Christmas and Thanksgiving. Great recipe and I'll remember to make sure to rinse my utensils :)

  2. I love retro jello molds - they're just perfect for summer meals. This one is a wonderful combination of different fruity flavors. Thanks for another great recipe.

  3. I love jello salad molds with cream cheese, Bonnie! (perfect mush food for my possible ulcer, right?), and always spooned huge hunks of them at picnics or middle school pot lucks for an athletic club I belonged to. Yours looks extra delightful..creamy, jiggly, crunchy and fruity. It doesn't get much better than that! I want to eat at your house, as long as you leave out the dish detergent! LOL I've done that myself..many times!