Gelatin Diaries: Basic Bavarian

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 to try one out for yourself.


Today’s gelatin recipe is another from the 1950s Joys of Jell-O. This time I pulled the Basic Bavarian. I was quite excited about that as I LOVED the Orange Pineapple Bavarian from McCall’s I made a few weeks ago. The recipe doesn’t lie. It is quite basic. All you need is a Jell-O, sugar, water and whipped cream.

I was ecstatic with having a reference photo this week as the past two weeks I had none. I like having something to compare to as I make these gelatin dishes. Also I had the mold they used in the picture so you know I had to use the same. So you see this was all going to be super easy…….famous….last…..words……

Making it was easy. It all came together within 15 mins. I poured the mixture into the mold and placed it into the fridge. I patted myself on the back and was excited to see the fruits of my labor. The next day I pulled it out ready to unmold.

You see I am not a novice Jell-O unmolder. I was prepared with my bowl of water and I remember to slick the serving platter with a light coating of water in case the unmolded gelatin needed to be coaxed over slightly. I was ready. So I did my normal routine of going around the gelatin edges gently pulling away from the sides of the mold. Then I dipped the mold into the water being careful not to get any on the Bavarian. I placed the serving platter on top and flipped it over. I tapped the mold a bit ( I really don’t know if this works but it is something I do). Nothing….. No big deal this happens quite a bit and usually a repeat in steps does the trick. Nope. So I do it again. Nothing. And again….still not budging. Finally after a few more tries, the Basic Bavarian finally decides to grace me with its presence.


The mold as it looks in the Joys of Jell-O.

I looked down and it looked nothing like the picture. I wish I remembered to take a photo of the outcome but in that moment I was so disappointed that all that fighting to unmold it ended up being for nothing. The reason is that if you notice in the picture above that the mold is a beautiful light pink color, is quite firm and the fruit in the basket is well defined. Mine was not so firm and you could barely make out the fruit. It makes sense though as adding the whipped cream does change the texture of the gelatin quite a bit. So either they added extra gelatin or that is not actually Jell-O in that picture. Companies have long used other sturdier substitutes when taking food pictures that might be ruined by the hot lights such as using shaving cream instead of whipped cream, acrylic ice cubes instead of real ones or using dish liquid to create longer lasting foam for drinks.


Also this is not the first time I had a problem with my end result not looking like a picture in the Joys of Jell-O as my Vegetable Salad was much more densely packed then the ones pictured. I highly suspect they double the gelatin to get that nice height to really see the vegetables.  The long and drawn out point I am trying to make is that sometimes a recipe may not come out looking like the picture in the cookbook and it has nothing to do with you.

Anyways I am not a quitter so I remade the Basic Bavarian this time using dessert cups and it turned out perfect. I will try using the Bavarian in a mold at a later date and will eventually do an update. I still quite like gelatin Bavarians as I like what mixing whipped cream with the Jell-O does to the taste and texture. Therefore I will looking forward to any I pull from the jar. As always if you want to try your hand at the dish the recipe follows. I did exclude the use of molds in the recipe until I can get it to work better.


Basic Bavarian

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A simple Jell-O recipe from the 1950s Joys of Jell-O

source: Joys of Jell-O (1950s)


  • 1 3 oz package of Jell-O (any flavor – I used strawberry)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 3/4 cup cold water (fruit juice can be used instead)
  • 1 cup of whipping cream
  • Optional: additional whipped cream and fruit of choice for serving


  1. In a mixing bowl, dissolve the Jell-O and sugar in boiling water.
  2. Then add the cold water (or juice if using).
  3. Chill until the mixture is slightly thickened. (Usually takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes and should be the consistency of unbeaten egg whites.)
  4. Prepare the whipping cream by either beating with whipping cream into soft peaks.
  5. When the mixture is slightly thickened, mix in the whipped cream until blended. (SEE NOTE)
  6. Pour into a large serving bowl or individual molds.
  7. Chill until firm (Usually takes about 5 hours but I prefer overnight).
  8. Serve with additional whipped cream and fruit if desired.


  • You may need to strain the thickened Jell-O mixture before adding the whipped cream as sometimes a small layer on the bottom firms before the rest of the mixture. It won’t ruin the taste but it will add solid red flecks. If you want a nice pretty pink pure dessert strain them if not them leave it.
  • You could also add 1 cup of sliced or diced fruit in the mixture before pour it into the molds. If using canned or frozen fruits, make sure you drain them well before adding.


3 thoughts on “Gelatin Diaries: Basic Bavarian

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