5 Ingredients or Fewer

Blackberry Jello Fluff

July  1, 2013
3 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4
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

What You'll Need
  • 4 1/2 cups fresh blackberries
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons powdered gelatin
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups 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!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Starmade
  • Chef Devaux
    Chef Devaux
  • EP Haute Chef
    EP Haute Chef
  • Renee G.
    Renee G.
  • Amanda Hesser
    Amanda Hesser
Amanda Hesser

Recipe by: Amanda Hesser

Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.

15 Reviews

Starmade August 16, 2021
There is another rather delightful version of this I learned which instead of cream involves whipped evaporated milk and lemon jello whipped to a froth together with additional lemon juice and sugar (if I made it now I would omit the added sugar); it is served with a sort of pseudo graham cracker crust which is sprinkled on top. I never knew you could whip evaporated milk before I learned this dessert (honestly I thought about using cream instead but that seemed to betray its origins). I remain a fan of red jello especially as an invalid food though I'm always looking for ways to cut the sweet; sometimes I will use half a pack of jello mixed with additional unflavored gelatin and tea (sometimes a flavored tea to go with the jello flavor; peach tea, strawberry or lime). I also have enjoyed jello whipped with a tub of yogurt.
Ellie August 11, 2021
Can you please tell me where I can purchase the glasses used for this dessert in the photo? Many thanks!
Amanda H. August 15, 2021
I'm sorry but I don't remember and that glass is long broken! :(
judy December 17, 2015
My mom's version of this used canned grapefruit. It was delicious. this is like a Fool. I haven't thought of tis in years. I wonder how it would work with frozen berries, as fresh berries aren't in season right now. Frozen berries have quite a bit of juice to begin with. Perhaps letting them thaw and drain, using the juices. then lightly blending the fruit to medium chop. I like the seeds and skins, so I wouldn't want to remove. Finally, Mom would let the gelatin w/fruit get to about medium set, then fold in the whipped cream. spoon into martini glasses. Garnish with a little grated candied ginger and a mint leaf. Then refrigerate util time for dessert. We only ever saw this when she had a dinner party a couple of times a year. It was the only dessert she made!
Chef D. November 21, 2015
looks tasty!
Maggiemac July 8, 2013
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
Amanda H. July 8, 2013
Thanks for your tips, and hope your son likes it!
Judy July 12, 2019
Where do you buy MimicCreme?
Everywhere I click it is no longer available.
EP H. July 7, 2013
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!!
Laura K. July 7, 2013
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!
leslie3733 July 7, 2013
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.
Amanda H. July 7, 2013
I'm not sure it would have enough structure, but why not try it?
Laura K. July 7, 2013
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!
Amanda H. July 7, 2013
Great idea.
Renee G. July 3, 2013
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!