Isn’t there something so nice about the word “Fluff”? It’s soft and comforting and towels out of the dryer. When someone tells you that a “fluff” is on the menu, you know what to expect. Something soft, puffy, creamy, and cloyingly sweet, perhaps with marshmallows and definitely with whipped cream or Cool Whip. At nearly any deli counter in America, you can pick up a plastic tub filled with pistachio pineapple fluff. (Sometimes the salads are called “Ambrosia” instead of “fluff”, but we all know what they mean.)I found this recipe when I was looking for recipes to bring to our friends’ house for Thanksgiving dinner. I scoured 11 different recipes looking for the perfect dish to bring along with my Cherry Meringue, Pumpkin, and Apple pies. I asked a number of coworkers for their favorite thing to eat at Thanksgiving and one of them mentioned “Cranberry Fluff”. I had never heard of it. When I called my grandma to ask about it, she fondly remembered it as one of her favorites. How could I not make it after that? As an aside, that was such a good conversation with my grandma. I love talking to her about her food memories and bonding with her that way. We chatted for a decent amount of time about the blog. I hope she knows that she’s really the inspiration for it.
I had a few minor modifications. My apple was sweeter than I was expecting it to be. The grocery store didn’t have green grapes that day, so I used red ones. I didn’t read through all the instructions and didn’t let the cranberries, marshmallows, and sugar sit overnight. I let them sit on the counter for a couple of hours instead. The purpose of this is really just to soften everything and ensure that there are no big chunks of marshmallow.
So the verdict…holy buckets. This was easily the best fluff salad that I’ve had. It’s not as sweet and mushy as a lot of fluff salads. The fruit and nuts add texture. One of the kids thought the “pink fluff” was better than the “green fluff”. It was good enough that I didn’t mind eating the leftovers (which were gone before I had to go back to work.) It made a nice change from super tart cranberries. It was sort of like a Waldorf salad, but not mayonnaise-y. All in all, this dish is a keeper. Get yourself some Wisconsin cranberries and make this one. I think it’s a better dish than the Cooked Cranberry Salad. (And in case you didn’t read about it before, the teacup is Wedgwood that I found at the thrift shop for less than $1. I love the color, I love the pattern, it coordinates with my dining room and the rest of my blue and white dishes.)