This is the fruit salad that the Mormon Pioneers developed when they came down to Southern Utah, from Salt Lake City. This area was hot & dry and had nothing but sage brush. As the pioneers discovered underground wells and got irrigation going from the Pine Valley Mtns. they were able to grow some fruits and vegetables. This salad came from those early days. Both of my parents were born here, as was I (although I grew up in CA). This is a magnificent and festive looking salad with an unusual dressing that prevents the fruit from browning and tastes delicious!
Historically, all the Dixie Salad consisted of, was apples, grapes and pomegranite seeds, and the dressing. Some added pecans or walnuts as well. My own immediate family likes to add the bananas and marachino cherries and juice. This is a great fruit salad. Will store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Stir the sugar and cornstarch together well. Add cold water and stir again until all is dissolved. Over medium heat (stirring constantly) bring to a rolling boil. Boil for 1 minute.
Add the pineapple, lemon and cherry juices (lemon juice is vital to keep the fruit from turning brown but the flavor is so good too!) and bring to a boil again, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute, and remove from heat. Stir in 2 Tbs butter.
Put a metal eating utinsel in a glass jar to absorb some of the heat and prevent the jar from breaking. Pour mixture into the jar and allow to cool until cool enough to hold the glass with your hand. Cover with saran or plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold. Can be stored in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days.
While all of this is going on, get helpers to prepare the fruit. Kids love to help, the older ones can do the preparation with knives and the younger ones can peel bananas, take grapes off of stems and take the seeds from the pomegranite.
Open the pomegranite, remove the seeds and clean out any membrane,so that you have just seeds in the bowl. This is a somewhat tedious job; but it's a great one to let the children help with-as they enjoy it and they can sneak a few seeds without it hurting them or the salad! Remind them to wash thier hands first though (and know this ahead of time "pomegranites DO stain")!
Wash and cut apples in half and then half again. Scoop out the cores, and slice. Cut slices in horizontal pieces so you have little bite sized pieces of apple. Put in a very large salad bowl, suitable for a wet fruit salad.
Peel and slice up bananas and put them into the bowl with the apples. Then, separate the grapes from thier stems, wash, rinse and drain them and add to the fruit bowl. Dry the marachino cherries somewhat with a paper towel so that they are not completely full of juice and add them to the fruit bowl. Add the pomegranite seeds and the pineapple chunks.
About a half an hour before serving, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Add the vanilla, then add the dressing (it will look like gelatin). Beat only until combined, do not over-beat!
Fold the dressing (whipped cream combination)into the fruit and refrigerate until ready to serve.