Monday, March 21, 2016

Under the Sea Jell-o

Look, my first Jell-o mold!  Jell-o molds have always fascinated me, maybe because I don't remember ever seeing any of them as I grew up.  We didn't eat Jell-o often, either.  When I was about 7, my dad and I made a box of Jell-o together, and it never set up, so I didn't make it again until I was 15.  Yes, we somehow managed to mess up Jell-o!  My husband really likes Jell-o though so I now make it a couple of times a year.  Only ever sweet Jell-o, though, we have no interest in the savory varieties.  An ongoing joke with us is that if I ever decide to divorce him, I'll present him with Waikiki Whip.

This Jell-o mold, called Under the Sea Pear Salad from the Joy of Jell-o blog, has intrigued me for a few years now, and I finally decided to make it.  I love pears and the lime Jell-o and ginger just sounded good.  I left out the salt (which I'm glad for), but that was my only change.  My Jell-o mold was just a lightly greased 4 quart measuring cup, but I think it turned out rather pretty.
My husband and I had very different opinions about the Jell-o.  He liked the plain lime layer, but thought the creamy layer needed to be more sweet and wasn't wild about the pears.  Pears are one of his least favorite fruits, but I thought maybe he'd like it here because he likes Dessert Pears and Baked Cinnamon Pear Oatmeal, but no.  To appease him, next time I plan to add more Jell-o powder to the creamy layer so it's sweeter, and I'll use peaches instead of pears.  I'm also planning to make an orange version for Thanksgiving.  I really enjoyed this Jell-o and liked both the pears and the level of sweetness, but life is a compromise and if he will only eat it if it's sweeter and made with peaches, that's how I'll make it!
I found this version of Under the Sea Jell-o on The Joys of Jell-o blog and she got the recipe from the book, The Joys of Jell-o.
Under the Sea Jell-o
3 oz package of lime Jell-o
1 C boiling water
1 Tbsp lime juice
16 oz can pears
6 oz cream cheese, softened
1/8 tsp ground dried ginger (not fresh or it won't set)
Lightly grease a 4 C Jell-o mold and set aside (I used a little canola oil on a paper towel).
Mix the packet of Jell-o with the boiling water and stir until completely dissolved.  Drain the juice from the can of pears into a measuring cup and add cold water to make 3/4 C.  Add lemon juice.  Stir the cold liquid into the hot Jell-o.  Pour 1 C of the mixture into the greased Jell-o mold.  Place the Jell-o mold in the refrigerator and leave the rest of the mixture at room temperature.
When the Jell-o in the mold is set but not firm (about 45 minutes), place softened cream cheese in a microwave safe bowl.  If you can't easily whisk it, melt the cream cheese in the microwave for about 15-30 seconds.  Whisk until smooth, then whisk in the remaining room temperature Jell-o mixture, 2-3 tablespoons at a time, making sure it's smooth before adding more.  Dice pears and stir into mixture.  Spoon carefully over Jell-o in the mold and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
When you're ready to serve the Jell-o, place the mold in a large bowl or pan of hot water so that the hot water comes up to the interior level of the Jell-o.  Of course, be careful not to get water in the mold.  Let the Jell-o sit like this for about a minute, then carefully remove it, dry the mold, place a plate inverted on top of the mold, and carefully flip the mold and plate over so the Jell-o comes out on the plate.
Yield:  About 6-8 servings

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