Monday, July 14, 2014

The All American Dessert, What Else?

The All-American Dessert has become a 4th of July tradition, like the Hot Dog Eating Contest and the Twilight Zone Marathon. Its layer after layer of sugary goodness can give you cavities just by looking at it. Just the presence of it in a room inspires staunch patriotism. My friends...the All American Dessert:

I guess this isn't a good post to follow up my cavity questioning post with

This was probably one of the more tastier versions of "The Dessert" recent years. I found a useful trick is using Jello brand gelatin rather than the store brand. For whatever reason the store brand doesn't settle as firm so you get a much softer product. Jello firms very well and as a result it holds things together. 

The assembly line

In the past I've taken pictures of the step-by-step procedure, but here's what all of the ingredients look like together. Two big boxes of Jello (red and blue coloring), a pound cake, two pounds of strawberries, one thing a piece of raspberries, blue berries, and maraschino cherries, and three things of whipped cream just to be safe. You may be able to get away with two but I like to be generous. 

This dessert and I go back years when I was a kid and my mom made it. It was always the hit of the party. In recent years I've tried applying the dessert for different holidays but have had varying success:

All American Dessert - Thanksgiving Edition

The Thanksgiving Edition has worked decently the two times I've made it. Instead of red and blue Jello I went with orange and black (black cherry) and for fruit I went with blackberries, bananas, and kiwis. I might consider trying this combination again. 

All American Dessert - Christmas Edition

The Christmas Edition completely flunked. It looks gorgeous and the green and red Jello is an attractive combo, but the complementary fruit of grapes, canned cherries, and kiwis just didn't work. Like at all. I think the leftover of this guy rested in the fridge for about a week before being thrown out and as far as I can tell it's the only version of "The Dessert" to be thrown out. It just lacked the sweetness and cohesiveness of the other two. 

I was looking through the Greg's Gourmet archives and found that I also made a Christmas Edition dessert one year prior and was also disappointed primarily due to the ingredients:

All American Dessert - Another Christmas Edition

In this version I actually forgot the grapes, which you think would have helped the dessert's cause but unfortunately I also used a sub-par poundcake which didn't absorb the cake well at all, so basically this thing turned into one big giant mess when trying to scoop it out. 

Maybe I'll try a red, white, and blue version at the holidays and just gamble on finding decent berries. If I recall correctly, the blackberries for Thanksgiving actually worked out nicely. Maybe use them against the blue Jello? I don't know. But I'm sure you'll be hearing about it.