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Sour Cream Cherry Mold

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2 (16 ounce) cans dark sweet cherries in juice, drained, reserving juice
1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained, reserving juice
1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
1 (3 ounce) package cherry or raspberry Jell-O
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup slivered amonds

Sour Cream Cherry Mold

Sour Cream Cherry Mold is a spectacular and delicious molded salad perfect for the holidays.

  • Serves 8
  • Medium

About This Recipe

This is the most wonderful recipe for Christmas. It’s traditional in my family, and one of us has to make it every year.  The recipe takes a bit of doing, and you must follow the directions carefully to make sure that your salad is smooth, studded with slivered almonds, celery, and lots of cherries. This recipe for Sour Cream Cherry Mold is a must for this time of the year.

And yes we serve it alongside Creamy Cranberry Celery Salad.

The recipe uses cherry Jell-O along with unflavored gelatin for the best texture. The gelatin must be dissolved completely before you go on with the next step, or the salad will be grainy.

Then you must soften the cream cheese properly and beat it well, beating in the sour cream, then the dissolved gelatin, very slowly to make you you don’t have little white bits in the salad.

This may sound daunting, but take your time and you will be rewarded with a gorgeous, festive salad that is incredibly delicious.

How to make the best Sour Cream Cherry Mold

  • I know I’m repeating myself, but be absolutely positive that the grains of gelatin are dissolved before you go onto the next step. Pick up a bit of the liquid in a metal spoon, then tilt it and examine it in the light. If the liquid is clear, you’re good to go.
  • I always use dark sweet cherries that are canned in 100% cherry juice in this recipe. Tart cherries are too tart. And don’t use cherries packed in heavy syrup because it salad will be too sweet. There must be a balance of sweet and tart. I used to use canned Queen Anne cherries, but I just can’t find them anymore.
  • Chill the salad for at least 8 hours; overnight is better.
  • To unmold the salad, fill your sink with very warm water. Hold onto the mold and dip it in the water for 10 seconds. Then carefully put a plate on top, flip the mold quickly, then shake it gently. Lift off the mold, shaking it a bit, and you will hear a “squelch” sound. The salad should slip out.
  • If you can’t get it out of the mold, don’t despair. Simply spoon out the salad onto plates directly from the mold. It will still taste delicious.

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Drain the cherries and pineapple thoroughly and reserve the juice. Make sure that you check all of the cherries to ensure that the pits are removed.


Combine the juices and measure. Add water, if necessary, to measure 2 cups.


In a small bowl, place 1/2 cup of the fruit juice mixture and sprinkle over the unflavored gelatin. Let stand for 3 minutes. Then heat this mixture in the microwave for 30 to 60 seconds, or until the gelatin dissolves completely, stirring once during the microwaving process. Set aside.


In a medium saucepan, place the remaining 1-1/2 cups of the juice mixture and bring it to a boil over high heat.


Now put the cherry Jell-O into a medium bowl. Add the boiling juice mixture and stir until the gelatin and sugar are completely dissolved. Set aside to cool slightly.


In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until very soft and fluffy. Add the sour cream gradually, beating constantly, until the mixture is very smooth. Then add 1/2 cup of the dissolved cherry Jell-O mixture slowly, slowly, beating constantly.


Then slowly add the remaining dissolved cherry Jell-O mixture and the dissolved unflavored gelatin mixture. GO SLOWLY or there will be little bits of cream cheese in the finished dish. This isn't a disaster, but the salad will be prettier if it is all one color.


Now add the drained cherries, drained pineapple, the celery, and almonds.


Pour the mixture into a 2 cup mold that has been rinsed with cold water and not dried.


Cover the mold with foil and chill for at least 8 hours until set. Then unmold and serve.


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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