Thursday, January 27, 2011

Vintage Recipe Thursday: This Side of Paradise Pudding

So, I've never actually made Lemon Jell-O before (just Cherry and only once by myself).  My first thought when I poured the boiling water over it was, "This smells exactly like the lemon-scented Liddle Kiddle."  That scared me a bit.  Basically, this dessert is a ménage-a-trois (I'm not going to say orgy, because that happened in the 1960s) of industrial foods.  First off, the lemon Jell-O is artificially flavored.  Secondly, did you hear about the bees who turned red from feeding at a maraschino cherry factory?  Thirdly, the macaroons I used are from (gasp!) Wal-Mart.  Am I proud?  No, but I feel a bit better because I used homemade marshmallows and  I do like that the recipe uses actual whipped cream.  The Jell-O recipe booklet I have from the '60s suggests using Dream Whip in similar recipes and the recipes on the Jell-O website recommend Cool Whip, which is even less of a "real food" than Dream Whip, if you can imagine.

Shockingly, This Side of Paradise Pudding is really tasty.  Paul and I were flabbergasted.  It's like really amazing lemon chiffon pie filling.  This combination of flavors might deserve a "real food" make-over.  Although, I think it's really difficult to be cheerfully vulgar with "unsweetened Montmorency dried cherries."

I know it's just supposed to be "Paradise Pudding," but I have a lamentable desire to add literary references whenever possible, so now it's "This Side of Paradise Pudding."  My apologies to F. Scott Fitzgerald.

left: cover of the December 1927 issue of People's Home Journal
right:original Paradise Pudding recipe

This Side of Paradise Pudding

1 package lemon Jell-O
1 pint boiling water
¼ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon fine-grained salt
½ cup blanched almonds
1 ½ cups marshmallows, cut into ¼” cubes
12 maraschino cherries, chopped
6 macaroons, crushed
1 cup heavy cream, whipped to stiff peaks

Pour the Jell-O into a large mixing bowl and cover with boiling water. Stir, then leave to cool off a few minutes before covering and refrigerating. Refrigerate the gelatin for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until cooled and slightly thickened, about the consistency of unbeaten egg whites.

Take the gelatin out of the refrigerator, add the sugar and salt, and beat until thickened and opaque and at least doubled in volume. Carefully stir in the almonds, marshmallows, maraschino cherries and macaroon crumbs. Fold in the whipped cream.

Pour mixture into a 2-quart mold (I used a 9”x5”x3” loaf pan.) If you’re using a smooth-sided mold, you can line it with plastic wrap to ease unmolding, if you like. Cover the top of the mold with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 5 hours.

To unmold, dip the mold in warm water (if you haven’t lined it with plastic wrap), place your serving dish, upside down, over the top of the mold and turn both over as a unit. Remove the mold and, if you want, decorate the pudding with the rest of the jar of maraschino cherries.

Serves 8

Adapted from “Through the Menu with Jell-O” ad from December 1927 issue of People’s Home Journal.

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Last week, I posted some hit songs from 1928, so I thought I would suggest a movie this week.  Since the magazine is from 1927, I watched one of the top earners of that year: It, starring Clara Bow, who is amazingly cute despite her crazy hair.  The movie is entertaining and not just in a "good for a silent film" way.  Clara Bow plays Betty Lou, a salesgirl at a department store who helps support a sick friend, Molly, and Molly's baby.  While the movie is mostly romantic comedy fluff, in a couple scenes Molly and Betty Lou have to fight two nosy welfare workers who want to take Molly's baby away because Molly doesn't have a job (because she's sick!) or a husband.  It's an interesting commentary on the not-so-carefree side of the decade, but the film doesn't delve too deeply into serious social issues before Betty Lou is off to join a yachting party.  At least the clothes are fabulous.

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  1. Oh, my sweet little lemon laffy kiddle - I don't think she smells anymore! Interesting about the red bees... Glad you and Paul liked the Paradise Pudding - I can see why you were surprised!

  2. oh my goodness, this looks so intriguing. I love that it's named after an F. Scott Fitzgerald literary creation :)

  3. What a precious blog you have! bad timing for me to have it discovered only now, because all looks so tempting, so delicious, and I'm just trying to detox. But a visual bite won't hurt me, no.

  4. I hadn't heard about the red bees, but those maraschino cherries are nasty these days. Have to find organic ones, or it's all chemicals. I like the renaming of the recipe. Glad you realized I was back.

  5. I came cross your Paradise Pudding recipe while researching the recipe given to me many years ago. I had a question about the recipe, but the person who gave it to me is now deceased. While I have found a few recipes for Paradise Pudding, and they are similar to mine, none give the size of jello to be used ( large box, or small). I would like to know what size you used, if you don't mind. The relative who gave me the recipe made it for all special dinners, and her family loved it. I don't make many gelatin recipes, but this one stuck with me, because I remember it as being one I liked. Thanks ahead for your help.

    1. It's just the standard Jell-O size (not the big one). I don't know how many ounces that is off the top of my head. Sorry for taking so long to get back to you. Your comment got lost in a big pile of spam!


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