Monday, February 1, 2010

Retro Jello!

I discovered Jello salads the other day, when someone who grew up eating Marilyn's layered Jello salad wrote and asked me for the recipe. I got the recipe the same week my nieces were coming, so I decided to try to make it for the kids. I didn't have a Jello mold, so I used my Bundt pan. After about 17 boxes of Jello (okay, maybe 6), the kids were impatient, so we just ate it without finishing filling the pan.

Then Bethaney helped the cause of Jello by buying two Jello molds at the thrift store. The top picture is her mold-- sort of a snowflake. The bottom picture is mine-- polka-dotty! I finally, on the third try, learned how to unmold the Jello. As you can see in the top picture, half of the mold melted because I did it wrong.

Anyway, here is the recipe if you, too, want to make a dessert that would make you snicker if you saw it in the pages of an old magazine! :-)

Depending on the size of the Jello mold, you'll need 5 or 6 of the small boxes of Jello, whatever flavors you want to use. To the first package, add one cup of boiling water. Then, divide the Jello-water mixture in half. To one half, add 3 T sour cream. To the other half, add 3 T of water. (Marilyn said she put ice cubes or cold water in, but I found it set in the bowl before the layer in the mold was firm. I used warm water and that gave me more time.) Put the sour cream mixture on the bottom of the mold and refrigerate. (I might do the other layer first next time-- the bottom picture looks a little sickly with the light purple color.) When it is firm, add the other mixture on top. Then, when that layer is set, boil some more water and start over with another flavor!

This obviously is not a quick recipe, but it wasn't really that much work. Every couple of hours during my day, I would just mix up another box of Jello. When I was done with the whisk and measuring cup, I just rinsed it in water and left it out for the next batch-- I can't imagine washing everything thoroughly in between, and it's Jello, for Pete's sake. Practically indestructible.

One of the trickiest parts is unmolding the finished salad. What worked for me was running a knife around just the top layer to loosen that up a bit, then dipping the whole mold in a sink of hot water for 5-10 seconds. (I have pitifully lukewarm water, 5 seconds will probably do it with regular hot water.) Put a plate over the top, and invert!

I don't think I explained this recipe very well, but hopefully it becomes clearer as you do it. And beyond the showiness of it, it is yummy! The kids loved it, and so did I. I have to admit, the idea of sour cream with Jello was off-putting, but just think about cream and Jello, and it sounds better! :-)

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