Desserts

Strawberry Floating Gelatin Dessert

I grew up on flavored gelatin- my school cafeteria used to present us schoolchildren with infinite varieties of canned fruit encased in flavored ‘jello.’ I used to love it- anything sweet and slippery was fine by me!

Thanks to cookbook authors like Fanny Farmer, recipes made with gelatin or ‘aspic’ became a nation-wide craze. Thumbing through my 1941 copy of Fanny Farmer’s The Boston Cooking School Cook Book, I see recipes such as Cucumber Jelly Salad, Ginger Ale Fruit Salad, and for the more advanced cook, Whole Cooked Chicken in Aspic (yikes)! Fanny was responsible for awakening housewives from their doldrums and getting their ‘gelatinous juices’ going.

However, gelatin (aka ‘Jello’) and I eventually parted ways. I got tired of going to buffet dinners and seeing the salad section filled with pears ensconced in green gelatin, nestled on a bed of iceberg lettuce. Or in the dessert section, eyeing cherries in gelatin, topped with little marshmallows. Sound familiar?

But that all changed when I saw a recipe by Kiwilimón for a floating gelatin dessert.  This dessert is shaped in a lovely fluted bundt cake mold and consists of a delicious vanilla layer that ‘floats’ inside a mass of strawberry gelatin. Fresh blueberries, strawberries and mint leaves are placed in the center as a final garnish. Loving the contrast of the creamy vanilla layer with the sweet strawberry gelatin, I can say once again that I am a fan of ‘Jello’! In fact, I’ll be taking this dessert to our family Christmas dinner next week!

To make this dessert, sour cream, condensed milk, regular milk and gelatin powder are combined in a blender and then poured into a Bundt Cake mold (or other decorative mold). After the mixture  firms in the fridge for several hours, gently separate the mixture away from the sides of the mold using your fingers:

Now dissolve the strawberry gelatin in 2 cups hot water, add 2 cups of cool water, then pour the mixture over the vanilla layer. The vanilla layer now ‘floats’ in the strawberry mixture.

Let the mixture set in the fridge for several hours. To unmold, place a large plate on top of the mold and then invert it; gently lift the mold off.

 

Add fresh strawberries, blueberries and mint leaves into the center of the dessert and serve. Happy holidays to everyone!

Floating Strawberry Gelatin Dessert

Print Recipe
Serves: 8

Ingredients

  • For the Vanilla Layer:
  • 1/2 cup Mexican Crema or Cream Cheese
  • 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 packets powdered unflavored gelatin (14 grams) dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water
  • For the Strawberry Layer:
  • 1 box (170 g) strawberry flavored gelatin ('jello')
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 2 cups cool water
  • several drops red food coloring (optional)
  • Decoration:
  • Fresh strawberries and blueberries
  • several sprigs of fresh mint

Instructions

1

Combine the Mexican Crema (or cream cheese) in a blender with the condensed milk, regular milk and vanilla flavoring. Blend for 1 minute. Dissolve the two packets of unflavored gelatin in 1/4 cup hot water, then add to the vanilla mixture. Lightly spray the inside of a mold with vegetable oil (use a bundt cake mold or other type of decorative mold). Pour the mixture into the mold and refrigerate for 2 hours until the mixture is firm.

2

To prepare the strawberry gelatin mixture, empty the powdered gelatin into a large bowl and pour 2 cups of very hot water on top; stir until the gelatin dissolves. Now add the 2 cups of cool water and several drops of red food coloring (optional) and stir. Let cool to room temperature (about 15-30 minutes).

3

Remove the vanilla gelatin from the fridge; using your fingers, gently separate the gelatin away from the sides of the mold. Pour the strawberry gelatin on top of the layer of vanilla gelatin- the vanilla layer will now 'float'. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours until firm.

4

Remove from fridge, place a large plate on top of the mold and invert. Gently remove the mold and the gelatin dessert should (hopefully) be fully in tact. Place some fresh strawberries, blueberries and sprigs of fresh mint in the center of the mold for decoration.

Notes

If you cannot lift the mold from the gelatin after it has cooled in the fridge, try resting just the bottom of the mold in a bowl of warm water for 30 seconds. This will loosen the gelatin. However, I found that this was not necessary- my mold lifted right off since I used a teflon-coated mold.

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  • Mimi
    December 18, 2017 at 10:54 am

    That’s gorgeous! I love the new photo of you – it’s good to see you!

  • John/Kitchen Riffs
    December 18, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    Now this is a jello dish done right! I do remember those salads and desserts from yesteryear. Not very good, were they? This, though, looks terrific. Thanks!
    John/Kitchen Riffs recently posted…Date-Walnut SquaresMy Profile

  • Makos(@thehungrybites)
    December 21, 2017 at 8:44 am

    Hey Fran! This looks very pretty and is similar to a dessert my mom makes! So, it will be a favorite!!!
    Makos(@thehungrybites) recently posted…Greek milk pie with phyllo (easy bougatsa)My Profile

  • David
    December 25, 2017 at 4:27 am

    I usually shudder at gelatin desserts because, as you point out, they can be pretty awful. This, however, looks amazing. I wonder how hard it would be to make homemade strawberry Jell-O to complete its beauty?

  • Karen (Back Road Journal)
    December 28, 2017 at 3:02 am

    Look how pretty, I’m glad you showed it sliced to see the interior. When traveling in Europe, I see so many appetizers that are done with aspic.
    Karen (Back Road Journal) recently posted…Christmas WishesMy Profile