Spring is quickly approaching, and with it comes the timely celebration of Easter. Easter is a time of hope that Death does not win but the beauty of life wins. Every Easter celebration needs a kitschy reminder of the past, and so in honor of potlucks at church and Easter dinner at Grandma’s, here is my homemade version of Mandarin Orange fruit salad. ~Starla
1 can crushed pineapple (drain, reserve juice!)
1 can mandarin oranges (drain, reserve juice!)
1 quart cottage cheese
1 cup sweetened coconut
1 recipe mandarin orange pineapple gelatin (recipe below)
1 recipe mandarin orange vanilla pastry cream (recipe below)
1 recipe orange vanilla whipped cream (recipe below)
Mandarin Orange Gelatin
2 TBsp. powdered gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup boiling water
1 1/2 cup liquid reserved from canned pineapple and mandarin oranges
1 1/2 cup water or orange juice
1/4 cup granulated cane sugar
**Set the drained fruit aside to mix in at the end of this recipe**
Soak gelatin in the cold water until it is soft and malleable. Add this mixture to the boiling water in a small sauce pan. Cook gently over a medium flame. Add the sugar and a pinch of salt, whisk until dissolved, then remove from the heat. Add the reserved juice and water (or orange juice) and stir, then add the drained fruit. Pour this mixture into a Pyrex dish, cover with plastic wrap, and put it in the refrigerator to set up.
Vanilla Orange Mandarin Pastry Cream
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated cane sugar, plus 1 TBsp. granulated cane sugar
1 1/2 cup whole milk
1 TBsp. non GMO corn starch
1 TBsp. flour
1/2 a vanilla bean
1/2 tsp. salt
zest of one mandarin orange or orange
1/4 tsp. essential oil of orange
2 TBsp. butter
Add milk to a saucepan along with sugar, salt, and vanilla bean. Bring this to a gentle simmer. Take the egg yolks and put them in a mixing bowl and whisk in 1 TBsp. sugar, until frothy. Next, add the cornstarch, then the flour whisking in each ingredient at a time. This should be thoroughly mixed and should look smooth and glossy. Now pull out the softened vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds into the milk, and set the vanilla bean aside. Pour half of the simmering milk mixture into the bowl of your glossy egg yolk mixture, whisk quickly incorporating the egg yolk mixture and milk together. Pour all of it back into the sauce pan with the remaining milk and whisk vigorously on medium to high heat until it thickens. Once it thickens, take the pan off of the heat and whisk in the butter, then the zest, and the orange oil.
Transfer the pastry cream to a Pyrex bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow the plastic wrap to lay gently against the surface of the pastry cream so that a skin does not develop. Place in the refrigerator until completely cold.
Vanilla Orange Whipped Cream
1 pint heavy whipping cream
2 TBsp. powdered cane sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. orange oil
Add all the ingredients to a bowl and whisk until you have stiff peaks. Cover and put in the refrigerator.
When everything is cold, get a large mixing bowl to combine all the components. Add the mandarin orange/pineapple gelatin and cottage cheese, then fold this together. Next fold in the orange pastry cream and the shredded coconut, then gently fold in the whipping cream. Transfer to a pretty serving bowl and top with mandarin oranges and more coconut. Keep cold until you are ready to serve.