Merry Cherry Dessert

This dessert took more time to make than some others, but its festive, elegant presentation garnered ooohs and aaahs aplenty.

1 can (21 oz.) cherry pie filling, divided
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 pkg. (8-serving size) cherry flavor gelatin
1 1/2 cups cold water
4 cups angel food cake cubes
3 cups cold milk
2 pkgs. (4 serving each) vanilla instant pudding and pie filling
1 tub (8 oz.) whipped topping, thawed, divided.

Three-quart glass serving bowl or trifle dish, to show off dessert’s color
Reserve 1/3 cup cherry pie filling for garnish; set aside.
Stir boiling water into dry gelatin mix in large bowl at least 2 minutes until completely dissolved. Stir in cold water and remaining cherry pie filling. Refrigerate 45 minutes or until slightly thickened (consistency of unbeaten egg whites.)
Place cake cubes in serving bowl. Spoon gelatin mixture over cake.  Refrigerate 45 minutes or until set but not firm.
Pour milk into large bowl. Add dry pudding mixes. Beat with wire whisk 2 minutes. Gently stir in 2 cups of the whipped topping. Spoon over gelatin mixture.
Refrigerate 2 hours or until set. Top with remaining whipped topping and reserved cherry pie filling.
Store leftover dessert in refrigerator.
Makes 18 servings (2/3 cup each).

Ticiu notes: You can trim off 20 calories and 1 gram of fat per serving by preparing with light cherry pie filling, fat-free milk, and light whipped topping.

Drusilla Ticiu
Inver Grove Heights

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