Just (and strange) Desserts

I’ve gotten into this recipe kick as of late.  I just really, really want to write out recipes for y’all.  I thought I’d keep in vein with the holiday theme of my last post and write-up some desserts that were always served at Thanksgiving and Christmas.  These are both, to me, Southern recipes.  However, like the Chicken Poppy Seed Casserole, they are probably universal recipes from a cookbook or magazine that just about everyone has a version of.

Both of these recipes were made by my paternal grandmother.  One is a bite sized dessert confection while the other is a dessert salad.  I believe that my grandmothers did a bit of dessert salad swapping after my parents were newly married.  The dessert salad that was always served by my Yankee grandmother was a family friends recipe from my paternal grandmother.  And the dessert salad that was always served by my Southern grandmother was originally given to my Yankee grandmother by her southern neighbours.



Needless to say that my dad was thrilled eating Thanksgiving dinner at my maternal grandmothers house because there was only one thing from his childhood which was served, and it was Mrs. Geiger’s Congealed Salad, which apparently his mother stopped making once she came into possession of the Piggy Temple recipe.

I am not overly fond of congealed things and Mrs. Geiger’s recipe is no exception.  It’s a strange and unappetizing conglomeration of lime jello, pecans, cottage cheese, pineapple, and mayonnaise.  However, while Piggy Temple is not my favourite dessert, it is rather good, so we’ll start with that and then follow with the confectionery.



Piggy Temple

  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 1 can cherry pie filling
  • 1 Sm can crushed pineapple
  • 1 C pecans, crushed
  • 1 (8 oz) container of Cool Whip

Mix first four ingredients together well and fold into Cool Whip.  Refrigerate over night.



  • Super easy!  Plus it’s a light and airy dessert that is tinged slightly pink by the cherry filling.  It’s rather pretty.  And more importantly there is no jello and no weird savory bits.
  • Old Family Recipe Help:  If your old family recipe happens to mention “1 can of milk”, whether it lists a brand like Pet or Eagle, as my recipe does, it generally always means Evaporated Milk.






Is that not just the most adorable name?  Humdingers?  Mainly people simply call these date balls, but my paternal grandmother’s recipe came with a really swell name.  Why call them anything but Humdingers.  It’s fitting too as they are extremely sweet and they make me want to exclaim, “HUMdinger!” after I’ve eaten one.

  • 8 oz package dates, chopped
  • 3/4 C white sugar
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 1/2 C Rice Krispies cereal
  • 1 C pecans, chopped
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Confectioners sugar

Melt white sugar and butter over low heat.  Add dates and cook 5 – 8 minutes, or until it turns into a thick paste.  Remove from heat and add the cereal, nuts and vanilla.  Mix well.  Let cool slightly.  Use hands to roll mixture into 1″ balls and then roll in confectioners sugar to coat evenly.



  • These are not difficult to make, though they are a wee bit tricky.  The mixture needs to cool enough that you can touch it with your hands without getting burned.  Cooled too much and they won’t keep their shape while you’re trying to roll them into spheres.
  • This recipe makes a lot of confectionery, and as they are super sweet it will take you a long time to eat them.  It also depends on the size you make the balls as to how many you will have.  Normally you’ll have about 3 dozen, but if you make them larger (as sometimes we tend to do because we’re lazy), it’ll be less.  Can be more if you make them very small.
  • These are actually great to give away as gifts, either on their own or as part of a handmade sweets gift set.  I’ve not met a person yet who doesn’t think that they are delicious.  They’re easy to make, not very expensive, and you have plenty to gift out.  I always include a hand-written recipe card with the gift, in case the receiver wishes to make them on their own.
  • Old Family Recipe Help:  If your old family recipe happens to mention “such and such amount stick of Oleo”, as my recipe does, it simply means butter.  Oleo was a butter substitute once upon a time.  It’s equally consistent with the same measurement for butter.



Measurement Guide:

I always see recipes with varied measurement abbreviations.  I always use the standard form, but if you are not familiar with that, it is as follows.

  • C = cup(s)
  • Sm = small
  • tsp = teaspoon
  • oz = ounces

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