More Joys of Jell-O

JellO done

Take the ingredients of a typical Christmas dessert (dried fruits, citron, nuts, cinnamon), mix them with Jell-O and what do you get? Jell-O Plum Pudding, of course! In my last post, I experimented with fruits that float and  fruits that sink in Jell-O. This recipe mixes everything into one thick, chunky suspension held together with Jell-O. The surprise ingredient? Grape-Nuts cereal! I’m not sure why, but I am happy to report that you can’t really taste it when you bite into the pudding. The flavor that comes through most strongly is prunes, which makes sense for a plum pudding. It’s something like fruit cake without the dense texture and icky aftertaste.

The bright red pudding, which comes from  Jack Benny and Mary Livingstone’s Jell-O Recipe Book (1937, reprinted by Coachwhip Publications)  certainly looks like a period piece. Jell-O was once considered classy. A Jell-O mold like this one helped people show off their refrigerators, a modern household appliance in the 1930s. Unlike fruit cake, this Christmas dessert is made to be eaten promptly.

JellO in progress.jpgJell-O Plum Pudding (1937)
Serves 10

1 package lemon or cherry Jell-O
Dash of salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 pint hot water
3/4 cup finely cut raisins
3/4 cup finely cut cooked prunes
3/4 cup finely cut citron
3/4 cup finely cut nut meats (such as walnuts or pecans)
3/4 cup Grape-Nuts cereal

  1. Combine the Jell-O, salt, and spices; add hot water and stir until Jell-O is dissolved. Chill.
  2. When slightly thickened, fold in combined fruits, nuts and Grape-Nuts. Turn into a mold. Chill until firm
  3. Unmold. Serve with foamy sauce or with whipped cream flavored with nutmeg.

Note: One fourth cup brandy may be added with fruits, if desired.

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About heritagerecipebox

I am named after my great-grandmother, who only prepared two dishes, according to anyone who remembers: hamburgers shaped like squares and peanut butter sandwiches. Fast forward 100 years and 500 miles north from my hometown of Richmond, Virginia to Boston, Massachusetts. Somehow, I ended up with a cooking gene as well as an interest in history and family stories. I have worked as a journalist and published three cookbooks plus a memoir. This blog gives me a chance to share family recipes and stories -- and other American recipes with a past. What do you have to share?
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