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Starr’s Best Christmas Jello Ever

Posted by Sunday on Dec 26, 2009 at 11:12 pm

Long ago my mom, Starr, made the mistake of making a Jello recipe she came across called “Raspberry Dream.”  I’ve searched online for a source for the recipe, but the words “raspberry dream” pull up about 4,000,000 old lady recipes including everything from whole Oreos to crushed pretzels.  Urgh.  That was the sound of my dinner coming back up.


When I say she made a mistake, I mean this: this salad is now the epitome of Christmas.  We quite literally cannot have a Christmas without it, and partially because she refuses to make it any other time of the year.  Why?  Because it wouldn’t be special, otherwise.


Normally we don’t use pureed fruit, but see the recipe for details.

I’m 100% on the Christmas-Only Christmas Jello bandwagon, here.  You can’t just go making it willy-nilly.  It’s special.  It’s once-yearly.  I’d be like making candycane cookies in July.  Cats would lie down with dogs.  Rain would fall up.  I just can’t risk the stability of the universe so that someone can have Christmas Jello in March, you know what I mean?


We’re making two batches here, one strawberry and the other raspberry.

The salad itself is a throwback, but that’s a great deal of the charm.  It’s not classy, but I guarantee that it will be gone if you put it out at a dinner party.


It doesn’t hurt that it involves a pint of ice cream.


The above photo is from this year, where we just served it in the bowl it set in and topped it with pureed fruit.  No one noticed that it isn’t what we usually bust our lady nuts doing:


This one was from last year.  Or maybe the year before, I don’t remember.  Also note:  whole frozen raspberries in this version.

Which is to make it in a fancy mold.  So the lesson here is: no one cares what shape it’s in, as long as it’s still mom’s Raspberry Dream.

Starr’s Raspberry Dream
this year my grandpa is still healing from having his teeth pulled, so we decided to make the Dream without whole fruit (seeds!) and instead included the equivalent amount of pureed, strained fruit into the mix.  After it set, we topped it with more puree – you could also wait until it was nearly set and swirl it into the top.  But unless someone just can’t eat the seeds, I’d go with the original recipe.  It’s much easier.

1 (6oz) large packet of raspberry Jello
2 C. boiling water
1 heaping C. frozen raspberries, still frozen
1 pint premium vanilla ice cream (we always use Haagen Dazs), still frozen

  • In a large bowl, measure 2 cups of boiling water.  Stirring steadily and vigorously (but without sloshing or getting crazy), slowly pour in the powdered raspberry gelatin.  Keep stirring for about 3 minutes, or until the gelatin has visibly totally dissolved.  If there are still small grains visible, keep stirring.  Don’t worry about it getting cold, worry about it dissolving all the way.
  • Cut the ice cream into big chunks.  This is easiest with a large knife, just cut the pint in half, paper and all, and then pull out the halves and quickly hack them up.  Add them to the gelatin and stir carefully and continuously.
  • Stir in the frozen raspberries.  Don’t just dump them in, you want to make sure they circulate, both to thaw and to drop the temperature of the gelatin quickly.  You actually are trying to rapidly cool the mix at this stage so that it starts to take on a nearly pudding-like consistency before you put it in the fridge.  If it is too warm when it goes in the fridge, the raspberries will all settle and the Jello might separate a little — this is fine, as far as taste is concerned, and isn’t even too much of a deal visually.  It’s kind of neat, actually.  But it’s better if it’s all consistently incorporated, I think.  Anyway, it should be perfect by this stage, what with the frozen raspberries and the ice cream and all.  Just go slow, you’ll be fine.
  • Cover and place into fridge overnight.  If you are using a mold, you can help unmold by gently resting the bottom of the mold in a sink with a shallow layer of hot water, or by placing onto a towel soaked in hot water.  Not too long!  Just a brief dip will do.  Then place a plate over the top like a lid and invert.  However, you may discover that no one is impressed with this business and opt for serving it in the bowl you mixed it in.  I’m just saying.
December 26th, 2009 | Make It So

4 Responses to Starr’s Best Christmas Jello Ever

  1. Kate says:

    My cranky, crazy grandmother used to make some kind of green Jello salad that my dad looooves, but she’s too cranky and crazy now. It used to make his Thanksgiving. I should snag the recipe from her next year and surprise him. Can you put Jello salad in any kind of mold? Could I make, like, a Thomas the Tank Engine Jello salad? I’m looking for an excuse to buy a fancy mold, here.

  2. The Island Ghost says:

    Combine evaporated milk with jelly (jello in USA parlance)= much happiness in the Ghost household.

  3. Sunday says:

    Kate: was it firm green Jello or was it soft? My dad’s Southern side used to make what they called “Green Stuff” (mmmm, sounds nummy?), which was like, a huge box of pistachio pudding powder, a small box of orange Jello powder, a large tub of cottage cheese, two cans of drained mandarin oranges, a tub of Cool Whip and… maybe some milk? I also suspect there was a can of drained crushed pineapple in there. I can’t remember now. Anyway, it was goopy, sugary and I remember sneaking spoonfuls of it when I was a kid.

    Island Ghost: Ah, yes! We make something called “Stained Glass Jello,” have you heard of this? Where you make a few colors of plain Jello, cut them up into small bits and then make some sweetened condensed milk and gelatin to bind all the other already-made Jello pieces together. Then, when you cut it up it looks like… well, not like stained glass at all. It is sometimes called “Broken Glass Jello” which sounds ominous to me.

  4. adriane says:

    i found this recipe when i wanted to make a jello mold for a christmas party, it’s now May and I have easily made this over 10 times since then. it’s so delicious. i have made a few different versions, i made one with apricot jello and frozen mango chunks… when feeling guilty about eating so much jello i even made it with sugar free jello and fat free frozen yogurt, and it was surprisingly still good!

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