This is the continuing saga of me trying to figure out the popularity of gelatin recipes from the 1920s to the 1970s. Each month, I randomly pick a recipe from a jar filled with the good, the bad and the savory gelatin recipes to see which ones were worth it and which ones should stay forgotten. I post the recipe at the end if you are so inclined (or super brave) to try one out for yourself.
Today’s recipe is from The Complete Jell-O Recipe Book from 1929. It is called Peach Surprise and consists of a peach half surrounded by orange Jell-O mixed with peach juice. It also calls for adding a little bit of chopped walnuts inside the hollow spot of said peaches.
My version does not included the walnuts because I thought I already had some in the pantry. Of course that means I did not. Usually I would just do a quick run to the store but I live on the east coast of Florida. North Florida to be exact. Yesterday when I was trying to prepare for the molds for today, they issued the first of the mandatory evacuations mainly for beach areas and mobile homes due to the long wait for Hurricane Dorian. Though that meant that this hurricane became real to a lot of people yesterday morning which means long lines. I decided that chopped walnuts were not that important.
Anyways, this dessert came together really easy. I was nervous that I would have lots of Jell-O mixture left over because of course an old cookbook does not tell you how many molds you should use or what size they should be. Why give out that pesky little detail? Therefore I had to guess and luckily I guessed correct.
The recipe also called for presenting it cut side up so you can see the nuts that you may or may not have placed in the center. I am not sure they tested this because the whole peach half made it a little difficult to get the Jell-O unmolded in the first place without destroying it. This happened to me on my first try as the peach completely separated from the rest of the orange gelatin. I couldn’t imagine trying to flip it over again. If they were able to do this for real then they must have had some magic on their side!
The verdict on “Peach Surprise”: This recipe is just basically peaches in Jell-O wrapped in a fancy package with a cool name. I didn’t hate it as I like oranges and peaches but some may feel that it is not worth it for such a basic flavor. The only thing I would do differently is use a different flavor and color. I think raspberry would have been a good play on the famous dessert peach Melba. The orange gelatin really didn’t stand out that much from the peach flavor. I would have used a different color purely for aesthetic reasons as I couldn’t get a good picture to show the peach inside the mold as the Jell-O and the fruit were so similar in color.
A super easy orange and peach gelatin dessert from a 1929 Jell-O recipe booklet.
- 6 individual gelatin molds that can hold about half a cup of liquid.
- 1 3oz package orange Jell-O (or really any Jell-O flavor that will compliment the peaches)
- 1 cup boiling water
- 6 peach halves from a 1 lb can of peach halves, drained with liquid reserved.
- 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts (optional)
- whipped cream for serving
- Dissolve the Jell-O in boiling water.
- Measure the reserved peach liquid and if it does not come out to 1 cup add enough water till it does. Then add the liquid to the Jell-O.
- Put two tablespoons of the Jell-O into the six molds. Chill until firm. Mine took about 1 1/2 hours.
- Cover and set aside the remaining liquid.
- When firm, place one peach half into the mold cut side up.
- If using, fill the hollow of the peaches with the walnuts.
- Fill the molds with the remaining Jell-O and chill until firm preferably overnight.
- Unmold and serve with whipped cream.