The Joys of Jello: Philadelphia Ice Cream

We’re making Number 5.

There is a fourteen-page booklet, released in 1904, which is the very first Jell-O recipe book.  You can read the full pamphlet here; I could see myself spending a week just making molds just from this little book:   Moulded Tomatoes, Shredded Wheat Jell-O Apple Sandwich, Chrysanthemum Salad…But today, just one: Philadelphia Ice Cream.

I decided to start off the week with something appealing, and refreshing– I want to strike a balance between the horrors of Jell-O, and some ideas that might be innovative and delicious.

I didn’t have any one-pound baking powder cans handy (who does?) so I emptied out a cannister of Itallian-style bread crumbs.  I trotted out to the grocery store and picked up a gallon of vanilla ice cream; and since it’s one million degrees outside, by the time I got home the ice cream was soft and pliable.  I spooned it out and lined the bread crumb can, leaving a channel in the center.  I set it upright in the freezer to harden.

For the filling, I decided to use peach Jell-O; although it’s not one of the original Jell-O flavors available in 1904 (strawberry, raspberry, orange and lemon) I thought I would add a modern twist.   I prepared it according to the package directions, let it thicken in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes, and then folded in one sliced banana.  I left out the extra 1/4 cup of sugar the recipe suggests; I didn’t think it necessary.

I took my ice cream mold out of the freezer, and poured the nanner/peach mixture down the center.  I topped it off with a few more scoops of ice cream, and put it all back in the freezer overnight.

The next morning, I dunked the mold in a pitcher of warm water to loosen its contents.  I used kitchen scissors to cut off the bread crumb can.  Here’s what came out:

And a cross section.  Pretty!:

And a slice to eat:

The taste was good, but there were logistical problems:  The ice cream melted faster than the Jell-O core, so you didn’t get to enjoy them together.  The outside came off in warm ice cream creamy goodness, but then the center would still be too hard to eat with a spoon.

Would I make this recipe again? Probably not.  Would I make ice cream tubes and fill it with other things? Probablly.  Frozen raspberries. Cake batter.  Other ice cream–what about a Neopolitan dessert, made from concentric circles of vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry?

What would you put in the center of an ice cream tube?

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