While in some countries fruit salads are made with fresh fruits, we Filipinos love making ours with canned fruit cocktail. Could it be because of our colonial heritage?
Canned fruit cocktail, after all, is made with Western fruits such as peaches, pears and grapes and was most likely introduced to us during the American Commonwealth period.
While I do love fresh fruit salads, I’m also, like many other Filipinos of my generation, hooked on Filipino-style fruit salad. I make it often for family gatherings and even the younger set of nephews and nieces like it too.
Sometimes, though, this type of fruit salad can be too sweet. To counter that, I add the grated rind of one lemon into the mixture. This gives the salad a hint of citrus and keeps it from being too cloying. Recently, an aunt also suggested adding a bit of salt to the equation. I tried her suggestion and found a very subtle but pleasant difference.
You may want to try this recipe for your next family gathering. It makes a great dessert and side dish.
Party Fruit Salad
4 cans (850 g each) fruit cocktail
1 can (825 g) sliced peaches
1 can (300 g) Nestlé cream or thickened cream, well chilled
1 can (300 ml) condensed milk, well chilled
1 tub or 1 bar (226 g) cream cheese, softened
3-4 medium apples, peeled and diced
Grated rind of one lemon
½ tsp fine salt
Stemmed maraschino cherries, for garnish (optional)
Drain fruit cocktail and peaches well, preferably overnight. Dice the peaches into the same size as the fruits in the fruit cocktail.
With a wire whisk, mix together Nestlé cream, condensed milk and cream cheese in a large mixing bowl until smooth.
Peel and dice the apples and immediately put them into the cream mixture to keep them from turning brown. Fold in the drained fruit cocktails and peaches. Add the grated lemon rind and salt. Mix gently until all the fruits are evenly coated with the cream mixture.
Transfer to one to two tightly covered containers. Chill in refrigerator for at least 24 hours, or keep in the freezer for four to six hours before serving. If desired, garnish with stemmed cherries before serving.
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When grating the lemon rind, use only the outer yellow part. Do not use the inner white pith which is bitter.
While the fruit cocktails and peaches are draining, cover them with cling wrap to keep insects away.