Posted by: Erica Retrochef | January 11, 2016

Fruit Cocktail Crackle

This week, I’m turning crackers into cake!


And for more fun, we’re using fruit cocktail with character. Doesn’t that sound like the dessert equivalent of nice personality? “My, Nancy, this fruit concoction has lots of character.”


1 No. 2-1/2 can DEL MONTE Fruit Cocktail
1 pkg. lemon pudding and pie filling mix
2 eggs + 1/4 cup sugar for meringue
3/4 cup coarse soda cracker crumbs
1/2 cup brown sugar, well-packed
1/2 cup melted butter or margarine
3/4 cup sifted flour
1/4 teaspoon soda
1/2 cup shredded coconut

Drain fruit cocktail; chill. Make pudding according to directions on box; fold in meringue made from egg whites and sugar. Add 1/2 cup of the drained fruit. Cool.

Mix crumbs and brown sugar; add melted butter. Sift flour with soda; combine with coconut, mix well with cracker mixture. Put 3/4 this mixture in well-greased round 9 x 1-1/2-inch baking dish or cake pan. Pour lemon filling on top; sprinkle with remaining crumbs. Bake in moderate oven (350°F.) 25 min. or till golden brown. Cool; chill. Serve topped with rest of the fruit cocktail. Serves 6.

Apparently, pudding is equivalent of character. Or maybe it’s the crackers?


This recipe is an interesting mix of pre-packaged processed food with from-scratch additions and alterations.


Lemon pudding is still cooked with two yolks (as well as sugar and water). Stir until your arm is just about ready to fall off, and the pudding will suddenly miraculously thicken.


Fortuitously, the two leftover egg whites are used up for the meringue that gets folded into the pudding (along with the fruit cocktail).


This starts off like a graham cracker (well, saltine cracker) crust, but then flour and coconut is added in. And baking soda, though I have no idea why — there’s not enough moisture in the crust part to make it rise, and the butter in the crust effectively keeps any water in the pudding from affecting it.


The extra-fluffy pudding goop gets put on the crust, and then more crust is on top. I think that technically makes this a betty instead of a crumble or cobbler, but frankly I’ve always been confused by all those different variations.


I baked this in a springform pan, expecting (perhaps stupidly) from the ad blurb that it would be rather cake-like after baking, and therefore able to hold its shape.

Much like the release of the Delight Fantastic, the Fruit Cocktail Crackle started expanding after the collar was opened. (Picture that sigh of relief after releasing yourself from skinny jeans that are a bit too small.)


The Crackle kept expanding, though. In a couple places, it started oozing over the edge of the serving plate. “Aaah, it’s oozing!” Buzz yelped. “Mommy, you have pudding on your socks!” the toddler laughed. I put it on the table (tracking pudding through the kitchen) as quickly as possible to get a picture — luckily it stopped collapsing after that eruption, and stayed essentially stable. (Lesson learned: serve it by scooping out of the baking dish, not by slicing!)

Even after baking, the consistency of the “crackle” interior was exactly like pudding. The crust (and topping) added a great contrast, and so did the fruit. It’s pretty sweet; you could probably cut down on the sugar in the pudding, meringue, and crust without much impact. Next time you’ve got a potluck and you want something a little creative, bring it along!

Enjoy this and many other vintage advertisements on the Gallery of Graphic Design.


  1. The Amazing Expanding Dessert…!
    Yeah, I’d be surprised that it wasn’t cake-like too — it surely looks like it was supposed to be in slices… at least it tasted good!

    • It certainly does look that way in the original recipe! Yet again, the advertiser’s creative photographer misled me…

  2. There’s only so many ways to sing the praises of fruit cocktail. ‘Character’ smacks of desperation!…I think this looks pretty good. Less sugar, maybe using only canned pineapple with some maraschino cherries and a touch of rum would make a pina colada expanding Crackle with character.

  3. This does sound delish

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: