Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Rainbow Jello

Do you want to take an impressive treat to share with your gluten eating friends and family?  This is one everybody loves (except my one sister who refuses to eat Jello of any kind because real food shouldn't look like that).
My oldest sister learned about this treat when she got married and it has been an important part of Thanksgiving ever since.  In fact we all had to learn to make it in case she went to her in-laws, or so we could bring it to our in-laws. Some of us like it better than pie!
This will take some time, as you have to wait for each layer to set up, so plan ahead.  You can easily do it while making pies or doing other prep, as it only take a minute to make each of the layers.

  
(printable recipe) Start with 7 colors of jello (small boxes) and a large tub of yogurt.  I like to arrange the Jello on the counter in a line the way I want it to go into the pan.  This is a personal preference, some people like to put in in the order a rainbow would be.  I like it to be more visually stimulating so I break up the colors and try not to put similar colors together. We have always used normal plain yogurt, but my sister has started using vanilla yogurt instead.  I prefer the tang of of plain yogurt.  This year I decided to try using Greek yogurt and I liked it better, so my recipe will use Greek yogurt.  If you prefer to use regular yogurt, use 1/2 cup.
 
Start by spraying a glass 9x12 pan with cooking spray. Boil water (I find it's easier to start a large pot of water on the stove and keep it simmering, then I just measure out what I need for each layer).  Mix 1 cup boiling water with the first color of jello.  Stir it until all the jello is dissolved.  In another bowl, measure out 1/3 cup of the Greek yogurt.  Measure one cup of the prepared jello into the yogurt bowl.  Set aside remaining jello.  Mix the yogurt and jello until smooth and pour into the bottom of the pan. Put the pan in the fridge to set up.  Leave the remaining jello sitting out on the counter until the yogurt layer is set up.

The methodology I use to reduce the time and dishes involved is this: I use one glass measuring pitcher for the boiling water and two glass dishes for the layers.  I rinse the dishes out after each color but don't wash them (it's just jello)  I use the same measuring cups and spatula for measuring the yogurt and jello each time, as well as the same whisk and spoon.  The layers will set up faster if they are cooled down somewhat when they are poured into the pan.  When I have poured the yogurt layer into the pan, I rinse the bowl and go ahead and prepare the next color of jello.  I leave it sitting on the counter to cool.  Once you have poured the clear layer of the first color out, you can rinse that bowl and prepare the yogurt layer for the second color. 

The first layer will take longer to set up, maybe as long as 30 minutes.  The following layers will set up more quickly.  If you are unsure if the layer is firm enough to pour the next layer on, simply touch it with your finger.  If it bounces back, it's ready, if it sticks to your finger, give it a few more minutes.  When the yogurt layer is set up, pour the clear layer of the same color on top and return to the fridge to set up. Simply repeat these steps until you have made it through all the colors.

Don't use the freezer to set it up faster, the sugars will crystallize and then they don't stay stuck together when you  serve it, it turns into a mess.  
If you get distracted and forget to pour your next layer in time, it will set up on the counter.  This is why I use glass bowls to mix in, simply pop it in the microwave for a minute and stir it around again, it will melt and be smooth.
Cut into squares and serve with whipped cream, yummy!