Monday, May 28, 2012

Melba for Memorial Day

Instead of the usual patriotic strawberry and blueberry dessert, I went with this (albeit historically British) peach melba Creamy Layered Peach Squares concoction.  And in the making of it I came to terms with something: try as I might, I will never be one of those women who is truly at home in the kitchen (not even when working with my beloved Jello).  Around ten o'clock last night I was spreading the cream cheese/Cool Whip/sugar layer over the graham cracker crust layer only to have the buttery graham cracker crumbs refuse to stay put and get all caught up in the cream cheese like so many toast crumbs ruining perfectly good butter.  The harder I tried to prevent it from happening, the worse and more unappetizing-looking it got.  The bf heeded my calls of distress, coming to my rescue with a spatula and more patience than I could hope to muster.  He managed to achieve an at least even if somewhat crumby (pun intended, ha ha) cream cheese terrain upon which I could later layer the raspberry Jello and Cool whip mixture. 

My culinary shortcomings aside, I have trouble believing that even the most careful of cooks could craft the perfect "square" (single serving size) specimen featured on the cook book cover.  Jello is just too, well, gelatinous a substance to assume the image of a plastic-perfect faux dessert worthy of a diner display case.

That said, I hope that the end result will be tasty enough to make up for its lack of plate appeal.  Here are the ingredients and the how-to's that gave me such grief:


2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup sugar, divided
1 stick melted butter
1 1/2 packages 8 oz cream cheese
1 8-oz tub Cool Whip
3 large fresh peaches peeled and sliced (I used 2 cans of peaches.  What's canned fruit for if not Jello recipes?)
1 1/2 cups boiling water
2 cups ice cubes


Mix the graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar, and the butter in a 13" x 9" pan and press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan.  Beat the cream cheese and remaining sugar in a medium bowl until well blended.  Whisk in 1 1/2  cups Cool Whip and spread over the graham cracker crust.  Top with peaches (in my case, 1 can).  Refrigerate until ready to use.  Dissolve raspberry Jello mix in boiling water.  Stir in ice cubes until melted.  Refrigerate for 5 minutes, or until thickened.  Whisk in remaining Cool Whip and spread over peach layer.  Refrigerate 4 hours or until firm.  Garnish with fresh raspberries and peach slices (this is where can number 2 came in).

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