Whoever said nothing is impossible obviously hasn't tried nailing Jell-O to a tree.
- John Candy
Once I learnt how to make this layered Jell-O ambrosia from my friend Sandhya (who in turn learnt it from her boss's wife, and yes it is the same Sandhya who shared her yummy Nankhatai recipe with me), this has become a hit in my family. And I don't mind making it over and over again - hands on time is just 10 minutes tops - it is that easy. And it gets better ... even your kiddo can make it with a little help from you.
I love Jell-O, in all its colorful glory. I am in love with the bright and beautiful rainbow colors and wiggly-jiggly texture. It is very easy to dress up the plain ol' jello-o and make it look and taste like a sophisticated dessert - introducing layered Jell-O ambrosia.
Ambrosia (meaning divine nectar) is a dessert believed to be of American origin. It is considered to be a spin-off on the traditional fruit salad. This recipe uses Jell-O, canned mandarin oranges, and pineapple. I do not even make the whipped cream topping for this dessert - I use the store bought one. So, now, you have no excuses of "I do not cook", because this involves no cooking.
To make the topping, I use the cool whip, which you get in the dessert topping section in the grocery stores. If you do not find it or do not want to use the store bought whipped cream, you can definitely use the whipping cream that is whipped to a stiff peak stage. Please refer to the tasteofhome website for more details.
You can use any finely grated cheese for garnish. I prefer to use the Mexican four cheese because the I love how the beige and orange colors of the cheeses compliment the white whipped topping.
Since this recipe does not involve cooking and Sonshine loves Jell-O, I found this a good dish to "cook" with him. Follow the general common sense rules (like an adult handles the hot water) and the "harder part" of the recipe (like mixing, stirring etc.) can be totally left to your kiddo. I found these safety-measures on Maria Nasir's blog and instead of repeating the same over, I thought I will just point you towards it. While you are there, do not forget to browse hundreds of yummy recipes she has shared.
When cooking with kids be ready for spills, massive cleanups and repeating instructions over and over again. But at the end of which you will be amazed to see a super happy kid showing off his/her culinary skills. At least that is what happened at my house 🙂 .
This is an easy dessert ideal for parties since with a little effort (don't panic because you see 5 hours of "cook time". Here, I have included the time required to set the Jell-O), you can make this gorgeous dish(serves at least 25 people). But no one stops me when I make it at home just to celebrate the little things in life. This lasts In the refrigerator for about a week or so.
- 1 3oz Lemon Jell-O
- 2 3oz Orange Jell-O
- 1 20oz Canned Crushed Pineapple (with syrup)
- 2 15oz Canned Mandarin Oranges(with syrup)
- 2 -3 tsp Granulated Sugar (Optional)
- 3 cups Boiling water (See Recipe Notes)
- 8oz Whipped Cream (See Recipe Notes)
- 1.5 cups (75g) Mini Marshmallows (you can add more)
- 2-3 tbsp finely grated Cheese
- Mixing Bowls
- Glass Tray (Size - 9"X13") (See Recipe Notes)
- Measuring Cup
- Spatula (Preferably icing spatula)
- Open the Jell-O packets and pour the Jell-O powder into a big mixing bowl.
- Add the sugar (this step is required only if you are adding sugar)
- Add 3 cups boiling water (see recipe notes) and mix well to dissolve the Jell-O powder. Let it cool for 3-5 minutes.
- Add the crushed pineapple and mandarin oranges along with the syrup to the Jell-O and mix well.
- Transfer to the glass tray. Place in the refrigerator to set it. This would take about 4-5 hours.
- Once the Jell-O is set completely, it is time to make the topping - in a bowl, mix mini marshmallows with the whipped cream (see recipe notes) .
- Spread the whipped cream mix evenly and make a thick layer over the set Jell-O.
- Top it with finely grated cheese (see recipe notes for more variations).
- Refrigerate again for 30 minutes or so before serving.
1. To set the Jell-O, typically you will mix the Jell-O powder with boiling water and once all the powder is dissolved, you mix in the cold water. This recipe follows a different method to set the Jell-O. I use the boiling water (the quantity mentioned in the package) and instead of the cold water, I use the syrup from the canned fruits. If the jello brand you are using is different, use half the quantity of the water specified in the package and then pour in the fruit syrup.
2. I use the store bought cool whip (whipped topping) to make the topping. If you are using whipping cream, then, whip about 1.5 cups of whipping cream to stiff peak stage and then mix in the marshmallows.
3. The cook time, in the recipe, indicates the setting time, which is actually the time it takes to set the jello.
4. You might find it difficult to get the pieces closer to the edges. I trim the edges to get a neater look before I serve this for guests. You can also set these in individual cups to make it easy to serve.
a. You can add toasted coconut into the whipping cream to add a little crunch. Make sure you cool the coconut completely before you add it to the whipped cream.
b. If you like, you can also add Mayonnaise/Cream Cheese/Sour Cream to the whipped cream topping.