Monday, June 17, 2013

Raspberry Whip

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Back at the beginning of my days as The Family Foodie, I told the story of my nemesis, Jell-o.  I have no idea why something as simply as Jell-o gives me so much trouble, and neither does anyone else in the Foodie family–especially when you consider that I’m capable of making fairly complex things.   Jell-o is powder dissolved in hot water, with a splash of cold water added to the mix.  Once refrigerated, you have the finished product.  Simple, no?

No.  Not for me.

In all honesty, I think my trouble with Jell-o comes down to two things I lack: patience and precision.  Jell-o requires hot water: not boiling water, which will prevent gelatin from solidifying, and not tepid water, which will prevent it from dissolving.  Jell-o also requires precise measurements of water or ice, and I freely confess that I’m not big on measurement.  Given the fact that no one else has the same trouble with Jell-o, I can only conclude that the problem is mine and not the product’s.

In that same early post, I conceded defeat to Jello-o and to The Hubs’ family recipe for Lemon Whip, one of his favorite desserts.  But anyone who knows me also knows that I don’t deal well with defeat.  Especially not in the kitchen.  So I decided to give the recipe another try this year, for Father’s Day again.  He remembers this dessert from the family gatherings of his childhood, and he remembers helping his mom crush the graham crackers that make up the crust, and he especially remembers that it wasn’t hard to make, because his mother was not a skilled kitchenista.  “If it were difficult to make,” he said, “she wouldn’t even have tried to make it.”

Still, I was afraid my Lemon Whip would pale by comparison, so I decided to take this recipe in a slightly different direction and make it Raspberry Whip, using raspberry Jell-o rather than lemon–although I did keep the lemon juice from the original recipe.  It adds a tart edge to a dessert that I suspect would be too sweet otherwise.  That neon pink color you see in the photo above?  That’s the raspberry Jell-o, in all its glory.  This isn’t meant to be a fresh and fruity dessert but, rather, a visit to the convenience foods of our childhood.  The Hubs and I were both born in the 60’s, raised in the 70’s.  Convenience foods were the staples of our lives, and although we don’t eat them much anymore, we can’t deny that it’s a comfort to return to them once in awhile.

I made this recipe gluten-free by using Kinnikinnick Graham Style Crumbs.  I was really pleased with both the taste and texture, which are essentially indistinguishable from regular graham cracker crumbs.  I learned through trial and much, much error that you need to use full-fat evaporated milk in this recipe; fresh cream would probably be easier, but it also has a higher fat content and would give the dessert a heavier texture.  The evaporated milk also needs to be very well chilled in order to be dense enough to whip.  (Evaporated milk was often used in place of fresh cream during World War II, with a little bit of gelatin thrown in to give the milk more body.  Once fresh cream was readily available again, no one took the time to chill and whip evaporated milk.  But learning how to do this will save you a few fat grams, if you’re counting calories.)

My version of Raspberry Whip came out a little less fluffy than what The Hubs remembers, but I was pleased with any result that didn’t resemble soup–that’s where I’ve been in the past, when it came to Lemon Whip.  And of course, wonderful man that he is, The Hubs said he liked my Raspberry Whip even better than the lemony original.  The Girl tried a piece and, because she didn’t know the graham cracker crumbs were gluten-free, couldn’t taste any difference at all; she liked the raspberry flavor, even though she isn’t a fan of Jell-o in general.  The Boy was very hesitant to try anything as unnaturally pink as Raspberry Whip, but once I convinced him to take a small bite, he admitted “That’s actually pretty tasty.”

And so we call a truce, Jell-o and I.  It doesn’t seem likely that I’ll be whipping out many jiggly desserts in the near future, but I’m pleased that I was able to recreate something that made Father’s Day a little more special for The Hubs.

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Raspberry Whip

Ingredients:

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 can evaporated milk (not 2% or fat free)
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup hot (not boiling) water
1 small package raspberry Jell-o
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

Directions:

Reserve a half cup of the graham cracker crumbs. Spread the rest evenly across the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch pan. Set the pan aside.

Pour the evaporated milk into a metal mixing bowl and add the sugar; stir to dissolve. Place the bowl, and the beaters from your mixer, in the freezer until ice crystals begin to form around the edges. This will take at least 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how cold your freezer is.

Meanwhile, dissolve the Jell-o in hot water. Let this mixture cool completely and thicken slightly, until it's the consistency of egg whites. Stir in the lemon juice.

Retrieve the mixing bowl and beaters from your freezer. Whip the evaporated milk until it's thick and foamy. Slowly add in the Jell-o mixture and continue whipping. Pour the filling over the graham cracker crumbs in the prepared pan; sprinkle the reserved crumbs over the top. Refrigerate until set.

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One Response to “Raspberry Whip”

  1. 1

    Dave @ Fit Chef Chicago — August 14, 2013 @ 3:15 pm

    Looks light, refreshing and delicious!

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