Lean in.Gather Journal Rhubarb Gelatin Tower
Recipes for jellied dishes date back to the 1400s, but the advent of instant gelatin in 1897 led to a surge in its popularity. Easy on the eye and the wallet, and with no mess, soon there was little that wasn’t being encased in the stuff. The Greater Jell-O Recipe Book (1931) suggests blending orange gelatin with hot prune and maraschino cherry juices, while a Hidden Surprise Salad in 1970’s Pillsbury Family Cookbook mixes pineapple, mayo, carrots, horseradish, and vinegar with lemon gelatin (frankly, it all feels like a surprise). Our jelly goes a more elegant route: crème fraîche and rhubarb layers with raspberries suspended inside molded into a leaning tower.
serves 6 (Makes enough to fill a 5-6 cup mold)
Toss rhubarb with sugar in a saucepan and let stand 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add 1¼ cups water and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, make crème fraîche gelatin: Place ¼ cup water in a in a medium bowl and sprinkle 1 packet of gelatin over, allowing it to soften 5 minutes. Heat milk and sugar to a bare simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar. Pour over gelatin, stirring to dissolve completely. Cool to warm then stir in crème fraîche. Pour into non-reactive mold in one layer or reserve some for a second layer. Chill until fairly firm (30 minutes to 1 hr depending on thickness of layer).
In a 1-1½ quart bowl, whisk remaining 3 packets of gelatin into ½ cup water. Let stand 5 minutes to soften. (It should resemble a gooey blob.)
While rhubarb mixture is still hot, strain through a fine mesh sieve into softened gelatin, pressing gently to extract as much liquid as possible, and stirring to dissolve gelatin completely.
Set bowl in a larger bowl of ice water and cool gelatin, stirring often, until it takes on the texture of egg whites. Fold in raspberries, then pour into your mold layering with the crème fraîche gelatin as desired. Chill overnight.
Dip mold very briefly in hot water, then turn out onto a serving dish.