1 1/2 c. vanilla wafer crumbs (I give vanilla wafer cookies a quick whirl in the food processor)
2 T. butter, melted
1 (20 oz.) can crushed pineapple, drained
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. cold water
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, cubed
1 1/2 c. halved seedless grapes
1 (11 oz.) can mandarin oranges, drained and cut in half
1 (10 oz.) jar maraschino cherries, drained and roughly chopped
1/2 c. finely chopped pecans
2 c. whipped topping (such as Cool Whip)
For the Crust:
1. In a small bowl, combine vanilla wafer crumbs and melted butter. Press into the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan coated with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
For the Filling:
2. In a small saucepan, cook crushed pineapple and sugar over medium heat for 5 minutes or until heated through.
3. Place cold water in a small bowl and sprinkle with gelatin; let stand for 1 minute. Stir gelatin mixture into the warm pineapple mixture.
4. Reduce heat to low and add cubed cream cheese. Cook and stir until cream cheese is melted and the mixture is well blended. Remove from heat and cool completely.
5. Stir the grapes, mandarin oranges, cherries, and pecans into the cooled cream cheese mixture. Fold in the whipped topping. Pour into prepared pan. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
For Minis: Instead of making vanilla wafer crumbs and butter mixture, place a single vanilla wafer cookie in the bottom of muffin tin cups that have been very lightly sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Fill muffin tin cups full with fruit salad mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight.