52 - Apricot Jell-O Mold with Sour Cream

Another winning recipe from Betty Jacoby. My mother never made any kind of Jell-O salad or mold. We did have plain Jell-O, as well as chocolate pudding made straight from the boxes. This recipe from Betty—despite—or perhaps because of its brilliant orange hues—worked its way right into the permanent Thanksgiving repertory.

The original recipe called for two large boxes of Apricot Jell-O. In recent years, I have not been able to find this particular flavor of orange—but have discovered that any orange colored (particularly peach) Jell-O works as well. The apricot flavor comes from the nectar or apricot juice. I used to divide the liquid—half water, half apricot juice—but I think it works even better with all apricot juice, no water. By better, I mean I prefer the texture of the all-nectar version, but it does become ridiculously sweet (we never seem to complain about that) with ever-greater proportions of the juice.

When served as part of the great Thanksgiving feast, most guests don’t venture near it. Hoorah we say—more for us! And anyone who tastes it, of course, becomes an instant convert.

I have always used a circular 12 cup ring mold that I borrowed from a neighbor about 25 years ago. When I attempted to return it after several years, she told me to keep it. It rests quietly most of the year, but is called to service annually for Apricot Jell-O Mold.

Prepare one large box of apricot Jell-O (or another related orange colored fruit flavor) following the instructions, but substituting apricot nectar for water (or you could just substitute the nectar for the cold water—play with it.

When the Jell-O is made (that would be one box worth)—put it in the refrigerator until it’s well set, abiding by the rules on the box.

When Jell-O is set, very gently spread one/half to one pint of sour cream evenly. Put back in refrigerate to toughen up the sour cream a bit.

Prepare second box of Jell-O as you did the first. Let it cool a bit, then gently spoon it atop the sour cream. The goal here is to keep the sour cream intact—and not break it up with the poured Jell-O. I have struggled with this for years, and have been most successful if I have a time to add a very thin layer of Jell-O first, refrigerate, and when that is set, add the rest. Of course, even if the sour cream goes crazy and rises up into the Jell-O, it will still be delicious—but it will not be as beautiful. Again, more for the family, less for the guests.

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