Cherry pie filling salad only uses five ingredients. One of them -- sweetened condensed milk -- is prominently featured in the recipe and the reason I dismissed the recipe in the first place. It's not that I don't like sweetened condensed milk -- I use it in other recipes -- but I couldn't imagine a salad made with milk. After all, sweetened condensed milk is, as the name says, milk that has been thickened by removing the water and then sweetened with sugar.
The sweetened condensed milk
is combined with lemon juice,
and cherry pie filling.
My mother-in-law used regular cherry pie filling, but I use lite which has fewer calories and less sodium, carbs and sugar than regular pie filling. When it's mixed with the other ingredients, you won't even be able to taste the difference. Once these ingredients are thoroughly combined,
a carton of Cool Whip is folded into the mixture.
To make this salad a little healthier, I use Cool Whip Lite which has less fat than regular Cool Whip. Refrigerate the salad several hours or overnight until it's thoroughly cold.
Although it's called salad and could be served as such, my mother-in-law served it as a dessert. I serve it that way too, but with a twist. I like to freeze it in individual paper baking cups. If you want to freeze it, make sure to use regular or low-fat Cool Whip. The fat in the Cool Whip helps make the salad firm when frozen. You don't need to refrigerate the salad first if you're going to put it in the freezer.
Line a muffin tin with paper baking cups. You'll need 30 if you want to freeze the entire salad. Spoon the mixture into the cups, filling almost all the way to the top.
Use a spoon to smooth the top and put the pan in the freezer overnight.
One advantage of using low-fat Cool Whip is that, when frozen, it's not rock hard. You can take it out of the freezer and serve it immediately without having to wait for it to soften. If you use regular Cool Whip, remove the desired number from the freezer and let them soften a few minutes at room temperature before serving.
You can skip freezing the salad and serve it straight from the refrigerator. I serve part of it this way and freeze the rest. When the temperature goes from hot to scorching in the summer, these individual frozen treats are much more refreshing than a popsicle or scoop of ice cream.
To freeze, put paper baking cups in a muffin pan. Spoon the mixture into the cups, filling almost all the way to the top. Use a spoon to smooth the top and put the pan in the freezer overnight. The next day, remove the baking cups from the pan and store them in a covered container in the freezer.