Blackberry Fluff

By • July 1, 2013 • 9 Comments

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Author Notes: Back when it was acceptable to throw some chopped fruit in Jell-O and call it a salad, another, genius Jell-O dish was born. This unparalleled dish was, of course, Jell-O Fluff -- the bouncy and affable fusion of Jell-O and whipped cream. Jell-O Fluff became a beloved dessert for a number of years, and was then swiftly and heartlessly discarded by the next generation.

There are two schools of Jell-O Fluff -- those made with whipped cream and those made with Cool Whip -- and they might as well be the Yankees and Mets of the Jell-O world. Their fans can not stand each other. The whipped cream fluff camp sees itself as superior, Jell-O elevated. The Cool Whip fluff camp believes it is the fluff of the people, a little fake in flavor but more authentic.

I don't want to sway you, but coming from the whipped cream fluff camp, all I can say is that our version is much better. Cool Whippers, my gloves are off!

My mother made Strawberry Fluff, which meant that after concocting a batch of strawberry Jell-O, she whisked cream into it until it turned a voluminous electric pink. Then she spooned it into glasses and put the fluff into the fridge to chill before dinner -- during which time it would gain a thin skin on the top, a detail I always liked.

These days, I'm less fond of strawberry Jell-O, though fluff still ranks high in my food memory. I wanted to recreate the magic, but this time with Jell-O made from scratch. (Note to Cool Whippers: Jell-O is about to be under siege as well.) There's one berry that I think goes better with whipped cream than strawberries, and that's the blackberry.
Amanda Hesser

Serves 4

  • 4 1/2 cups fresh blackberries
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon powdered gelatin
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup heavy cream
  1. Pile the blackberries into a medium sauce pan with 1/2 cup water. Bring to a simmer, and as the berries soften, use a potato masher to gently but firmly crush the berries. I like to do this so the berries don't get too cooked. Remove from the heat and pour the berries through a fine sieve into a large measuring cup. Use the back of a large spoon to press any excess juices from the berry seeds. You will need 1 3/4 cups juice.
  2. Remove 1/2 cup juice from the measuring cup and place it in a medium mixing bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the juice. If the gelatin isn't absorbed by the blackberry juice, then you may need to sprinkle up to 2 tablespoons water on top. Let the gelatin bloom for 5 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, pour the remaining 1 1/4 cups blackberry juice into a sauce pan and bring just to a boil, then pour it over the gelatin mixture and stir until the gelatin is dissolved. Stir in 1/4 cup sugar, then place the bowl in the fridge to chill; the blackberry jello should be firm in 3 to 4 hours.
  4. When the jello is ready, whip the cream to soft peaks, adding 2 tablespoons sugar to sweeten as you whip. Fold the cream into the jello with a spatula, occasionally stirring to break up any large jello pieces. Leave it a little lumpy. Spoon into small bowls or ideally, low glassware. Serve with a spoon!
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about 1 year ago Maggiemac

My son is gluten and dairy free. There is a wonderful whipping cream substitute I use for making ice cream for him and other desserts, it's called MimiCreme. It's made from almond and pecan milks and stands up to heat and other processes. He loves berries and I'm always looking for new treats for him. Jello has been very difficult as he also is sensitive to artificial dyes. I am excited about this recipe for him! Thank you

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

about 1 year ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Thanks for your tips, and hope your son likes it!

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about 1 year ago EP Haute Chef

Anyone old enough to remember jello molds with cottage cheese in them? Maybe some shredded carrots too? YUCK! Will definitely have to try this recipe. I can't stand Cool Whip or anything in a tub like that. Blah!!

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about 1 year ago Laura Kay

The Mess dessert is not supposed to have structure. A meringue is a flattened when spooned or piped out any way, and the point of a "Mess" is to have it all broken up together after it's presented with the parts assembled!

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about 1 year ago leslie3733

I'm a fan of whipped cream vs Cool Whip, too. Here's an odd question: How would it work if I used Rediwhip as the whipped cream instead of taking the time and using full fat cream from scratch. Just a thought. Aside from dispensing HOW MANY cans, I wonder if Rediwhip would stand up. Thx.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

about 1 year ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

I'm not sure it would have enough structure, but why not try it?

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about 1 year ago Laura Kay

You could make large meringue or individual ones to go with this beautiful fluff. Add a few fresh berried and then serve to guests. As it's broken up, it becomes the classic English Mess in a delightful new way!

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

about 1 year ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Great idea.

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about 1 year ago Renee G.

My mom used softened vanilla ice cream instead of cool whip! Wow! I haven't thought of this in a long time. I will try your version for sure!