Yay, me! I got another virgin recipe out of the way!
First, this begs the question: What the hell is a real peach Melba, anyway? I confess I had to look it up, and it’s as old-fashioned as it sounds. It was invented in the late 19th century by chef Escoffier to honor an Australian opera singer, and consists of peaches, raspberries, raspberry sauce, and vanilla ice cream. It turns out that the Jell-O version is true to the original, which is traditionally open to variation anyway.
I had a few tiny issues, but overall Jellied Peach Melba is easy-peasy to make. The main problem, if you want to call it that, is that there’s no longer a Bird’s Eye Quick Thaw line of frozen fruits, so I wound up getting the store brand frozen peaches (the only option), and some crunchy-granola-sounding brand of frozen raspberries. The bag of peaches was larger than what was called for in the recipe, but that turned out to be a good thing, because the recipe calls for a five-cup ring mold, and my ring mold is six cups. The extra peaches filled out the mold nicely.
Putting it together involved making a double batch of raspberry Jell-O, adding the frozen peaches and raspberries, and putting it in the ring mold to chill and set up overnight. The fabulous presentation includes scoops of vanilla ice cream (Ben & Jerry’s, natch) piled up in the middle of the Jell-O ring.
As it happens, I finished and tasted this after doing our income tax returns, an activity that’s guaranteed to tank my mood. In fact, TurboTax started me off by asking me how I felt about doing my taxes. I was feeling pretty good at the outset after having a productive morning. Two and a half hours and a good deal of shouting and swearing later, I was decidedly cranky. Bad news for the Jell-O result?
Full credit to Kraft Foods and Jell-O, preparing and eating Jellied Peach Melba actually cheered me up quite a bit. The mold turned out without a hitch, and scooping out balls of ice cream is almost always a delight. For eating, this one isn’t bad at all. Cream almost always improves Jell-O, and the mold had enough fruit in it that it wasn’t like eating a dish full of jelly (for which one really needs to be in the right mood, or sick, or recovering from dental surgery).
I wish the fruit had been better. The peaches had a peach-like texture and weren’t mushy or slimy, but they had very little flavor. The raspberries just tasted wrong, but maybe that was because of the contrast with the artificial flavor of the Jell-O. I rarely find frozen fruit that’s satisfactory – most are good enough for protein smoothies, maybe, but few can stand on their own in a dessert.
Still, all things considered, not a bad one at all. I may even eat some of the leftovers before the Jell-O starts shrinking in the fridge.
And yes, we ate the whole pint of Ben & Jerry’s during the “tasting”. You pretty much have to polish off all the ice cream after this dessert is served – another point in its favor.
I’m enjoying this while I can, because the next one up is one of the scary savory ones, involving a video and a donation to Action Against Hunger. I have some new ideas for the videos, so I’m actually looking forward to tackling it. Look for that in a couple of weeks…