Saturday, May 3, 2014

Rainbow Jello

My friend, who was a roomie many years ago, has an extensive family, which I appear to be a part of.  The best part of her family gatherings, aside from homemade Chinese food, is the rainbow jello.  Jews in the 1970s made that awful Jello mold, politely called "salad".  This dessert looks like more fun than anything, and who cares how it tastes!

It does take a long time to make, as each layer has to set for several hours before you can begin the next.  I only made three layers, and it took 24 hours.  Well, eight of it was sleep and another eight work, but each layer does take about 2 hours.

For an alternate presentation, check out Glorious Treats.  I love the idea of parfait glasses, but I did it in the dish this time because I didn't know how many servings it would make.  For a kid's party, do it in clear plastic cups.  For the three layers, I used an 8x8 pan, and the Jello pretty much filled it up.  For 5 or 6, use the 9x13 that she recommends.

1 4-serving box of flavored gelatin for each color you wish to make
1 8 oz tub of frozen whipped topping (up to 6 layers), defrosted
water and ice as needed

1.  Lightly pan-spray a 9 x 13 casserole or get out enough glasses (# of boxes times 6 or 8)

2.  Prepare first layer according to "quick-set" instructions".  This color will either be at the bottom of the glass or the top when you flip the casserole over.  I forgot that and made them in the reverse order I had planned.

3.  When gelatin starts to set up in the bowl, remove ice cubes and reserve 1/2 C.  Pour remainder into casserole/divide into glasses and place in fridge to chill for 15 minutes.
4.  When layer is mostly set, stir the 1/2 cup you have set aside.  If it is too set, put it in the microwave for 10 seconds to loosen it up.  Stir in about 1/3 C whipped topping, a heaping soup spoon, and stir until smooth.

5.  Remove casserole from fridge and gently pour cream mix on top of the first layer.  It will be thin, and you'll probably have to tilt the dish for full coverage.  Return to fridge until fully set, about 2 hours.

6.  Repeat steps 2 through 5 until you've done all the boxes.  Chill finished casserole at least 4 hours before trying to turn out.  Glasses can be served as soon as the last layer is set.

7.  Disclaimer- only turn out onto a serving platter if it is going to be eaten quickly, like within 15 minutes.  The layers will start to melt and slide all over the place.  You can also cut it in the pan and sacrifice a corner piece to get it started. To turn out, set pan in warm water for about a minute to melt outermost parts of the jello.  Place serving platter on top, then flip over the whole thing together.  You still may have to shake the casserole a bit to get it to plop out.
8.  To slice a turned-out mold, this is a neat trick.  Sure, you could use a knife and wipe it clean after every cut.  Or, get out a piece of dental floss.  Make it several inches longer than the casserole.  Simply press down evenly on both sides and slide it out.  The slices will be absolutely straight and the layers will not smush against each other.

Check packages for serving size, then multiply by number of layers.  Mine was 12, but I cut it into 16 squares.

Difficulty rating π (but time-consuming)

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