raspberry parfait

Here’s a recipe that goes back, at least, to the 1988 Thanksgiving Feast. I’m sure that I didn’t make it up for that occasion, but it doesn’t seem like one that would be found on a box of Jell-O, either. It is incredibly simple and great to have as a dessert. But on that occasion, it was served as a side dish. Nevertheless, here it is in the Desserts chapter, where it belongs.

  • 2 10 oz package frozen raspberries, thawed
  • 2 8-serving sized envelopes sugar-free raspberry Jell-O
  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 2 cups ice water
  • ¼ cup grenadine syrup
  • ¼ cup maraschino cherry syrup
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup walnuts

Put the raspberries through a food mill or pure in an electric blender at high speed. Strain and set aside.

Dissolve the Jell-O in the boiling water, stirring until complete. Add 2 cups of ice water (with ice) and stir until slightly thickened. If necessary, remove unmelted ice or put in refrigerator until proper thickness is achieved.

Add the raspberry slurry, grenadine, and maraschino syrup to the Jell-O. Cover and chill until thick and syrupy, about 20 to 30 minutes. Then beat until fluffy.

Whip the cream until soft peaks form; then fold into the Jell-O mixture.

Pour into a 2 quart decorative mold and chill several hours until firm.

To serve, loosen mold by dipping quickly in warm water, then invert on a large platter.

Serves 12 to 15 people.

gush de nel

Bche de Nel, or Yule log in French, is a traditional dessert served at or near Christmas by those who can obtain it from their French bakeries or make it themselves, if they know how to and have lots of time. Basically, it is just a flat, yellow sponge cake, rolled to form a cylinder, frosted and filled with a chocolate butter cream, and garnished so as to look like a log ready for the ancient fire-festival of the winter solstice. The cake, frosting and filling, and garnishing can be very elaborate. Also very caloric. And high in carbohydrate. It is a no-no in our household.

The recipe below is a very tasty substitute and welcome finale to a Christmas Eve dinner that requires comparatively little work and acceptable rise in the glucose index. It can be garnished to make it resemble a real bche as much as you like. There were only two of us to enjoy it on the Eve of its first instantiation, so it was decorated very simply on that occasion.

  • 1 pint lower G. I. ice cream, vanilla or butter pecan
  • 10 sugar-free oreo chocolate cookies, crumbled finely
  • 2 oz cranberry-orange-anise-cinnamon relish
  • mint leaves

Freeze the ice cream until hard and use a knife or scissors to cut away the container. Roll the ice cream in the cookie crumbles and move to a serving plate. Sprinkle crumbles over the plate, top with the cranberry relish, and arrange a few mint leaves around the forest floor.

Serve with extra cookie crumbles, cranberry sauce, and mint leaves.