Sunday, August 5, 2012

Cook like it's 1924

There is something about a "mold" that just doesn't sound appealing to me.  Moldy bread, moldy cheese, you get the idea.  This is a real appetizing start to this post, isn't it?
As you may know by now, I'm cooking my way through the decades with America's Test Kitchen's The Feed.  We are now up to 1924, and the challenge posted by The Feed was for Ambrosia Fruit Mold.  The photo of this recipe really drew me in, there was something about the cherries and marshmallows floating in a pale yellow opaque gelatinous form that actually made me want to try it.  In the end though, I really don't know if I should call my attempt a success or not.

I have never made a Jell-O or any other kind of mold before, but I got over my fears and attempted the recipe, because the photo looked so cool. First, the recipe called for pineapple Jell-O. Where you find that flavor is beyond me, so I just got strawberry instead figuring it would still go okay with the coconut milk featured in the recipe.

I boiled the water, dissolved the gelatin and added two cans of coconut milk.  Then I was instructed to refrigerate for an hour until it was slightly thickened.  This was when I realized that I really shouldn't have started a Jell-O mold at 8:30 in the evening.  The instructions said that the texture should resemble egg whites.  I checked on it after an hour and it really hadn't changed much, so I left it in the fridge and continued to wait.  I checked it after another half hour, and it had thickened a little, but was nowhere near egg white consistency.  Finally around 11, I gave up and just stirred the fruit and marshmallows in.  They pretty much just floated on the top and wouldn't really mix in to the Jell-O.  After getting ready for bed and reading a little, I gave it one last peek, and noticed it had firmed up a little more, so I stirred it, which managed to distribute the fruit a little better but those darn marshmallows just wouldn't sink in!

When I took it out of the mold the next day, it looked pretty, but when I went to serve it, it didn't hold up well, and it seemed like there were far too many maraschino cherries than anyone would need in a serving.  The flavor was alright, but didn't feel worth all of the hassle for me to want to make it again.  I think I'll let my mother-in-law do the Jell-O molds from now on; she makes an unbelievable cranberry one for Thanksgiving that I just can't get enough of.

If you don't think Jell-O is just for hospital patients, give this recipe a try and let me know how it turned out for you.  If you can't access the recipe, leave me a message and I'll forward you a copy.

Next stop: 1933 - Chicken in a Pot


  1. what an awesome blog i am so glad i found ya

    1. Thanks so much Ashlee! Stay tuned, I have been a little lax lately with writing, but will be posting more soon!