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Divinity Frozen Fruit Salad

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2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup Miracle Whip salad dressing
1/3 cup sugar
pinch salt
1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple, well drained
1-1/3 cups chopped dates
1-1/4 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Divinity Frozen Fruit Salad

This fabulous old-fashioned recipe combines sweet fruits including dates and pineapple in a super smooth cream cheese dressing. Yum.

  • Serves 8
  • Easy

About This Recipe

This weekend I bought a magazine called “Lost Recipes.” Written by the people at America’s Test Kitchen, it contains old-fashioned recipes like this one for Divinity Frozen Fruit Salad sent in by readers. The home ecs then test the recipe and make adjustments to suit modern tastes.

Every family has its own favorite recipes that no one else has ever heard of. That magazine made me think of my own favorite family recipe, Divinity Frozen Fruit Salad.

I have no idea where my mom found this recipe. It could have been on a cream cheese package, or perhaps was a promotional recipe for crushed pineapple or dates. This “salad” which is actually more like a dessert, is a sweet, salty, and creamy frozen treat that tastes like ice cream, but not.

You’ll have to try it to understand what I mean.

It does use one of the most popular flavor combinations today: sweet and salty. So this recipe was WAY ahead of its time.

There’s an interesting story about food science with this recipe. I always thought the gelatin was unnecessary – after all, it’s a frozen dessert, so why does it have to set up? I made it once without the gelatin and it wasn’t nearly as good. Turns out that gelatin helps keep frozen mixtures smooth.

We always asked for this recipe on our birthdays; in fact, I think that’s the only time we had it. When I want to feel nostalgic, out comes this recipe.

My mom used to make the salad in an ice cube tray – those old fashioned metal or zinc trays with the separate ice cube dividers. I now spoon the salad into individual cups and freeze them that way; I think it looks prettier.

This salad is great for the holidays. It’s also great for snacks, and to dress up any meal.

Try it!

Tips for the best Divinity Frozen Fruit Salad:

  • You have to use unflavored Knox gelatin in this recipe. The stuff with the coloring and sugar will NOT work. I used to think that the gelatin was not necessary because the salad is, well, frozen. But it is necessary because it keeps the mixture smooth even when it’s frozen.
  • Make sure the cream cheese is completely softened or it won’t mix properly with the rest of the ingredients.
  • Do not buy prechopped dates for this recipe; they are too dry and hard. Buy Medjool dates, the most luscious kind, and seed and chop them yourself.

Why this recipe works:

  • The combination of tangy, slightly salty cream cheese, salty mayonnaise, with the sweet pineapple and dates and the creamy whipped cream is irresistible.
  • The dates and pineapple add great texture to the smooth salad base.

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Combine the unflavored gelatin and the lemon juice in a small microwave-safe bowl. Let it stand for 5 minutes, then microwave until the gelatin is dissolved and the mixture is clear. This should take about 1 minute on high. Set aside.


Put the cream cheese into a large mixing bowl and beat until fluffy. Gradually beat in the mayonnaise and Miracle Whip (do not skip this ingredient).


Add the sugar and salt and beat for 5 minutes longer. Then beat in the gelatin-lemon juice mixture.


Fold in the drained pineapple and the dates. By the way, do not use those pre chopped dates; they are too hard. Find good Medjool dates and use them in this recipe.


Now combine the cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla in a medium bowl and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold into the cream cheese mixture.


You can freeze this salad several ways. Put it into a glass baking dish, freeze it in a mold, or put it into individual cups. Freeze for 4 to 6 hours or until solid.


Linda is a bestselling cookbook author and home economist who has written 54 books (53 cookbooks and Medical Ethics for Dummies) since 2005. She has worked for Pillsbury since 1988, on the Bake-Off and other projects. Linda has been a web presence since 2002, developing recipes and teaching people how to cook.

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