Edible Ephemeral Art: Rainbow Ribbon Jell-O Mold
If I bring a Rainbow Ribbon Jell-O Mold to your home, it means I love you.
This cool dessert gets the most amazing reactions. People love looking at it, hate to see it cut, and then say with surprise, “It tastes like Jell-O!”
It only has three ingredients, one of which is water. But like The Gates and other ephemeral works of art, as discussed yesterday, the sum is equal to more than its parts.
The recipe comes via the creative home chef Rachel Perlow who shared it years ago on e-gullet.org. She was inspired by Kraft’s recipe for layered Jell-O, and then kicked it up a huge notch by making it the colors of a rainbow (ROY G BV, no indigo) and using an angular Bundt cake pan for a cool shape.
But the recipe has pitfalls and risks. There are 13 layers of Jell-O, and you have to wait until each layer is almost but not totally set before adding the next. If a layer is too firm, the next one won’t properly stick. Also, if you pour the Jell-O onto the next layer too quickly it can break through and the colors will bleed, ruining the effect.
A lot of time and patience is required, but who doesn’t suffer a bit for their art?
Rainbow Ribbon Jell-O Mold
8-3/4 cups boiling water
7 pkgs flavored Jell-O, 1 each of the 6 different colors of the rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple), plus one extra red
1-1/4 cups vanilla yogurt (smooth and creamy works best), or sour cream, or cool whip
1. Line up boxes of gelatin in rainbow order, next to 5 large cups, and one quart sized bowl. Put each flavor of gelatin in its own large cup, using a bowl for the double batch of red (You need two reds because the pan is much wider at the top).
2. Stir 1 and 1/4 cups boiling water into each flavor at least 2 minutes until completely dissolved. Use 2 and 1/2 cups for the double batch of red.
3. Lightly spray a 10-cup Bundt pan with cooking spray, wipe out excess with a paper towel. You are alternating clear layers with creamy layers of each color. Begin with purple. Pour 3/4 cup of the dissolved gelatin into the Bundt pan. Refrigerate about 15-20 minutes or until set but not firm (gelatin should feel tacky and stick to finger when touched).
4. Meanwhile, stir 2 Tbsp. of the yogurt into the 1/2 cup of dissolved gelatin remaining in the cup, use a small whisk or fork to get out all the lumps. Refrigerate this remaining gelatin about 5 minutes or until slightly thickened (consistency of unbeaten egg whites). Leave the rest of the flavors at room temperature, lightly covered with plastic wrap.
5. Spoon the creamy gelatin over the set, but still tacky gelatin in pan. Refrigerate about 10-15 minutes or until gelatin is set but not firm (gelatin should stick to finger when touched).
6. Repeat this with each remaining gelatin flavor. If the gelatin waiting to be used sets at room temperature, fill a bowl the cup will fit into with hot water and stir to loosen it up again. Finish with the two boxes of red.
7. Refrigerate overnight until firm. Unmold by dipping bottom of pan quickly into warm (not hot) water then flipping onto a serving plate. Refrigerate until serving.
Becca Porter has a pretty good demo about this Jell-O mold on her blog.
My daughter Katie was a good sport and made the mold for a story I wrote in Home Magazine for my newspaper. We heard from people as far away as Australia who were inspired to try it after reading the article online.
NOTE: The photos in this post were taken by photographer Bryan Haeffele. When I asked Bryan if he was willing to come to my mother-in-law’s house on a Saturday to take pictures of my daughter making Jell-O, he instantly said yes. Now that’s a good man.