Recipe Reboot: Orange Pineapple Bavarian
This is one of those “reboot” recipes that I don’t remember at all – but that’s okay, because Orange Pineapple Bavarian is a perfectly pleasant dessert that I really don’t mind making again.
I got off to a bit of a rocky start with this one. Due to heat-induced confusion, I had Honey-Pecan Bavarian on the brain, so when Bryan and I went to the supermarket to get ingredients, I had a list of things I needed for Honey-Pecan Bavarian (which – spoiler alert! – is up for a “memory lane” post in the near future). The only ingredient the two recipes have in common is boiling water, so back out in the steam-bath I went to fetch tinned mandarin orange bits and crushed pineapple.
Orange Pineapple Bavarian calls for orange-pineapple or orange Jell-O. I’m pretty sure I remember seeing the orange-pineapple flavor around, but not lately, and since I’m getting tired of “orange” in a number of different ways, I decided to go with island pineapple, of which I have a few boxes in my Jell-O stash. (Yes, I have a Jell-O stash.) I figured the grated orange rind (grating citrus rind, even orange, is still a pleasant thing to do) and mandarin sections were sufficient to keep this true to the name of the recipe.
The prep on this was straightforward and at the same time involved enough that, with Pandora set to play my Galaxy New Radio channel, I could settle into my Zen happy place. I dissolved the Jell-O and two tablespoons of sugar in a cup of boiling water, added 3/4 cup of syrup from the tinned fruits and the grated orange rind, and thickened it a bit over an ice water bath. Meanwhile, I whipped up a packet of Dream Whip, folded three-quarters of that into the Jell-O (setting aside the rest for garnish), and when all that had thickened up more over the ice water bath I folded in the fruit.
Just to be weird, I went with the brain mold for this one. I haven’t used it in a while, and I was kind of thinking I could subtitle the recipe “Trump’s Brain”, but that doesn’t fit at all, because this Jell-O tastes nice and is as inoffensive as it could be. (Not that I have any idea what Donald Trump tastes like, but I imagine he tastes pretty nasty. Basting in spray tan for years probably doesn’t improve one’s flavor.) Also, as you may be able to see, despite the orange bits in it, the whole thing doesn’t look orange at all. Maybe it could be Melania’s brain instead.
One issue with the brain mold is that the gelatin tends to spread laterally rather soon after it’s been unmolded. It quickly loses its proper brain-y proportions, and the gray-matter wrinkles start smoothing out, so I recommend that if you’re going to serve a brain-shaped Jell-O, unmold it just before serving for the greatest visual impact on your guests.
I feel like using the island pineapple flavor Jell-O was a good call. I like pineapple anyway, and that was the predominant flavor in the dish, so I was happy with it. The garnish turned out to be a little tricky, though. Day-old Dream Whip isn’t the easiest thing to work with, for starters. Then I started adding fresh mint leaves from our yard, all the while thinking, “This can’t get any more creepy, can it?”
Bryan ate it with a sort of martyred expression on his face, but admitted that it really wasn’t bad. The only issue I had with it was that I felt like something was missing – and I realized that, with a few additions and alterations, this could have been Jellied Ambrosia Salad. Ambrosia (as my grandmother called it, also known as Five-Cup Salad) is one of the things from my white-trash-y upbringing for which I still have a soft spot, so watch for Jellied Ambrosia in an upcoming post. Meanwhile, enjoy some classic brain-related humor….
Memory Lane: Fromage de Tête (Creamy Blue Cheese Salad)
Originally posted late February/early March 2010
To be honest, when I was plotting the reboot of my Jell-O blog, I decided to do the Memory Lane thing as a way to save myself some work. It’s actually turning out to be more difficult than I was expecting. In some ways, cooking and then writing shortly afterwards is much easier. The details are fresher, and there aren’t value judgements to be made about whether to embellish when recollection comes up short. Mulling can take at least as much time as whipping up a Jell-O recipe, and I tend to be honest to a fault, which may be why I’ve not been particularly successful in the fiction writing department.
Then there’s the way that my memories have of not quite matching up to my notes. I was surprised to see that I’d given Creamy Blue Cheese Salad three nasties, because I could have sworn I gave it more. Creamy Blue Cheese Salad should be one of the less appetizing Jell-O recipes in the book, containing as it does softened cream cheese, Dream Whip, and bleu cheese (Maytag bleu from Wisconsin, which sounded like it would be suitable for Jell-O) in the usual lemon Jell-O base — not to mention the cayenne pepper seasoning.
My notes indicate that Bryan ate three pieces, and I dubbed it “not blatantly offensive” (the cayenne being barely detectable), adding that it would be better with unsweetened whipped cream in place of the Dream Whip. Apparently, the three-stage flavor (lemon, Dream Whip, bleu cheese) was not as bad as I thought it would be.
My recollection of Creamy Blue Cheese Salad is that the best part was the way it worked with my brain mold, which led me to dub this recipe Fromage de Tête. It was the perfect amount of Jell-O for the mold, plus it was roughly brain-colored. I did a short video, because it was impossible to fully appreciate this dish with just a still photograph.
(If you just watched the video, I can confirm that, yes, Bryan and I are easily amused.)
Of course, the final arbiter of Fromage de Tête was our late, great cat Mr. Fuzzybutt, who was a consumate mooch and cheese lover. He ate a bit of it, but was clearly bothered by the aftertaste.