Home cooking: Sawdust Salad

December 06, 2011

Easter Sunday dinner was never without Sawdust Salad for dessert. When we had summer picnics or family get-togethers, our cousins from Pittsburgh always requested that my mom, Catherine Johnson, make Sawdust Salad.

When we were young, my sister, Trina, and I got to help with stirring, mixing or spreading the different layers. We also enjoyed licking the beaters from the mixer and "cleaning up" leftovers in the bowls.

The "sawdust" of the salad's name comes from the appearance of the coconut on top. But Mom never used it, because we did not like coconut.

Through the years, my sister and I have made the salad for Easter and other family get-togethers. It is a favorite dessert of Jamy, our niece, and so I am sure this recipe will be passed down through another generation of the family.
— Jo Ellen Wisherd is a member of the hand bell choir at Otterbein United Methodist Church in downtown Hagerstown. The choir will perform its holiday concert at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11.

Sawdust Salad

Bottom layer:

2 cups hot water

1 3-ounce box orange gelatin

1 3-ounce box lemon gelatin

1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained

1 16-ounce package mini-marshmallows

Middle layer:

2 eggs, well-beaten

5 tablespoons flour

1 cup sugar

2 cups pineapple juice

Top layer:

2 1.3-ounce packages whipped topping mix

8-ounce package cream cheese

1 cup milk

1 cup shredded coconut, optional

To make bottom layer, pour hot water into bottom of 9-inch-by-12-inch pan. Add gelatins and stir until completely dissolved. Add pineapple. Sprinkle marshmallows evenly across the top. Set carefully into refrigerator to firm up.

To make middle layer, put eggs, flour, sugar and juice into pan over medium heat. Cook until thickened to a custard. Cool completely before spreading over first layer. Put in refrigerator to cool.

Prepare whipped topping following package directions. To make top layer, mix whipped topping, cream cheese and milk together until smooth. Spread over middle layer. If using, sprinkle shredded coconut on top.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

— Courtesy of Jo Ellen Wisherd, a member of the hand bell choir at Otterbein United Methodist Church in downtown Hagerstown.

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