And so it’s come to this: And Such Small Portions’s very first jello mold.
Well, sort of. When I picture a jello mold, I see this: a shapely mound that stands independent and proud on its very own platter, shiny and semi-transluscent and filled with some sort of canned fruit, quivering softly in the light filtering through a brown-and-yellow glass lampshade. I don’t picture a tupperware filled with blue gloop, gloop that’s been folded together with an heroic amount of whipped cream to create something that’s sort of like blueberry yogurt, but richer and less… good.
Not that my first experience in mold-making was a total disaster. The stuff tasted better than some of Nonnie’s other fails—hello, eggplant caviar—and it was pretty simple to make, all things considered. (A dish that consists almost entirely of processed ingredients will do that. Hell, it was easy even to find blueberry juice, which I certainly didn’t anticipate.) I’m also convinced that of the molds Nonnie included in her cookbook, this one is probably the most palatable. (Thoughts of her shrimp mold, which I haven’t yet attempted, still fill me with dread.)
It may not win a place of honor on the cover of Family Circle magazine; it may not jiggle and wiggle like the cartoon jello of my dreams. But it’s a perfectly decent dessert, if you like whipped cream (who doesn’t!) and lemon jello (which is… fine!) and blueberry pie filling (now hold on just one second), mixed together with pineapple juice (who in the what now?) and mashed bananas (um). And if nothing else, like Julie and the aspic, I can now claim that I’ve begun to scale perhaps the most intimidating mountain within the range that is this cookbook—which is no small feat, since the mountain, you know, is made of jello.
2 three ounce packages lemon Jello
2 cans whole blueberries, drained [How big should the cans be? Nonnie didn’t specify, so I bought the only size I could find; each one was a hefty 21 ounces. In the interest of following the recipe exactly (and because the blueberry pie recipe on the back of the package called for two whole cans), I used both, though I’m pretty sure in retrospect one probably would have been plenty]
2 cups blueberry juice [This is a thing that exists, that you can buy in a store! Mine was R.W. Knudsen brand, and I found it in a regular Key Food—the good Key Food in my neighborhood, to be specific, not the bad one. The bad one knows what it did]
2 cups pineapple juice
1 pint whipping cream, whipped
2 bananas, mashed [Doesn’t exactly make this recipe seem less like hospital food, does it?]
[A note on blueberries: This is what the inside of my cans looked like, undrained. As you can see, the berries are surrounded by a viscous, sugary plasma, which didn’t exactly make draining them easy, or even possible:
… Yup. I guess high-quality frozen fruit wasn’t really a thing when Nonnie was putting this cookbook together; real fruit that comes from neither the freezer aisle nor the canned food section certainly was, but for some reason, she’d rather you use the fake kind. But if I ever made this recipe again, which I won’t, I’d definitely opt for frozen or fresh blueberries. Because look at that colander. Ew.]
Heat one cup blueberry juice together with one cup pineapple juice to boiling point and dissolve jello in the liquid. Add remaining cold juices and mix well. Let jello set slightly [for me, this meant leaving it in the fridge for half an hour, then moving it to the freezer to speed the process along for another half hour or 45 minutes. You just don’t want to let it freeze, because THAT would make it gross] and fold in whipping cream, berries, and bananas. [Warning: It will look like this.]
Mix slightly to even fruit throughout mixture. [I did not mix slightly; I mixed vigorously, because that seemed like the only way to make this thing look slightly cohesive. Unless there are supposed to be ribbons of whipped cream and pie filling that stand distinct from the rest of the dish? If that’s the case, how could Nonnie possibly expect this to come out as one standalone mold?]
Pour into a greased mold and allow to set, in refrigerator. [Note that she doesn’t tell you to unmold it, because that would be impossible. It’s pretty stiff after a long fridge chill—mine was in there for at least four hours before anyone attempted to eat it—but definitely not stiff enough to stand on a plate without oozing.]
The verdict: I think you can guess. I brought the stuff to a party, mostly because I didn’t want to be faced with downing a giant mound of blue goop by myself. Someone else had brought chocolate chip cookies. The cookies were quickly devoured; the blueberry mold… wasn’t.
Though given the fuzzy, completely unprofessional pictures I took of the goop that night, I think it’s safe to say I was in a state where that outcome didn’t exactly bother me.