Originally posted October 29, 2009
Ginger Peach Dessert sounds a little fancy, but it’s really just your basic fruited Jell-O. The base is orange, and the cold liquid is ginger ale. At least, that’s what the recipe calls for, but after my disappointment with the Jellied Ginger Upper, I wanted to go for a stronger ginger flavor, so I used Reed’s Jamaican ginger beer instead. The fruit is, alas, canned peaches.
This sounded like a recipe that would lend itself to being molded, so I decided to use it as a practice run with the hand-shaped mold that was loaned to me for my Halloween party commission work. It struck me that this might be a tricky mold to use, for a number of reasons, the primary one being the extremely irregular shape of the mold. I knew there was no way I could fumble my way out of this one with a knife. Also, the mold is made of plastic, and I hadn’t worked with plastic molds yet, so I didn’t have a feel for how this would work.
The recipe didn’t make quite enough to fill the mold, but it was full enough. The way this mold is formed, the hand sits atop a mitten-shaped platform of Jell-O, and luckily there was at least enough to fill the mold above the outline of the hand where the platform started. I’ve been told that it’s extremely difficult to unmold from this if all you do is fill the hand, and I believe it.
As it turned out, it was difficult to unmold anyway. I blame myself. I forgot to coat the mold with nonstick cooking spray. I filled a baking pan as full as I dared with hot water from the tap, but it wasn’t deep enough to immerse the underside of the mold, and this problem was exacerbated by the irregular shape of the thing. The wrist section is much deeper than the fingers. After what seemed like far too long in the water, I tried turning it out onto the platter. Nothing. So I got out the hairdryer and felt silly blow-drying my mold for a few minutes, with no visible effects. I went back to immersing, then back to the hair dryer, then immersing again, until finally the thing plopped out onto the platter. As you can see in the photo, the unmolding required far too much melting of the Jell-O, so what I ended up with was a diseased looking hand sitting in a pool of orange spooge.
This was not a big hit with the Peanut Gallery. I’m now thinking that this may not have been a good recipe to mold after all, because the Jell-o was closer to “soft set” than it was to “nice and firm.” Bryan didn’t like the texture, and he had to ask me what flavor the Jell-O was. The latter complaint may have had to do with the ginger beer. Reed’s is one of the better ones around, but it’s very sweet and the ginger flavor lacks sharpness. (We used to love another ginger beer, Old Tyme, which was so spicy it made me sneeze, but that appears to have vanished from the marketplace.) I don’t think it worked so well in this recipe because, as is often the case, it just didn’t blend well with the flavor of the Jell-O. I’m not fond of artificial orange flavor, so I didn’t mind it so much, though. The canned peaches were, as usual, a disappointment.
The real bummer here, of course, is that I have not allayed my fear of disappointing our hosts at the Halloween party…