Light and billowy Cranberry Fluff is a classic side dish often served as part of our holiday menu. It can be featured as a dessert or as a side dish salad along with savory dishes. Filled with fresh cranberries, toasted walnuts and crushed pineapple it's then combined with mini marshmallows and freshly whipped cream. The texture is light and creamy yet, still tastes indulgent.
The origin of these sweet sides sometimes referred to as a salad, is a bit blurry. It probably has its roots in fruit salads which are naturally sweet by nature and can be served alongside savory dishes or as a sweet ending to your meal. Regardless of the origin, fruity fluffs are a nostalgic dish much like Watergate Salad the popular potluck star of the 70's. I love making them and have included several variations here on my website like my Chocolate Drizzled Caramel Apple Fluff and Hawaiian Pineapple Coconut Fluff. I also enjoy this Cherry Pie Fluff made with cherry pie filling from my Parade Magazine kitchen.
No matter the flavor, they're truly a delight and each one has their own little twist. I use fresh whipped cream for this fluff adding cream cheese to stabilize it without changing the flavor. This yummy seasonal version made with fresh, not canned cranberries is such a treat and always a welcome sight on our Thanksgiving and Christmas table. Another festive side dish you may like to try is this Cranberry Salsa from Boulder Locavore.
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
- 1 cup roughly chopped English walnuts or pecans toasted
- 4 cups fresh cranberries
- 2 Tbsps orange or lemon juice
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 8 oz can crushed pineapple well drained
- 1 10 oz bag mini marshmallows
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream
- 2 oz cream cheese softened
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the walnuts in a single layer and toast for 6-8 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Pulse the cranberries in a food processor until chopped. Place into a mixing bowl and toss with juice. Add sugar stirring until evenly distributed. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight allowing to macerate.
- To assemble: Using an electric mixer beat the heavy cream, cream cheese and vanilla together. Gradually add the powdered sugar beating until smooth and stiff peaks form.
- To the macerated cranberries add the marshmallows and pineapple. Mix well. Once combined mix in the walnuts.
- Fold the whipped cream in by hand.
- Pour into an airtight container and chill overnight.