Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Broken Glass Cake

When other mothers were preparing elegant side dishes to go with their Easter hams, this mother was busy making her “famous” Jello dessert, Broken Glass Cake. I can’t remember the first year I made it for our Easter dinner, but it was probably in the late ‘60s when our children were small. It seemed like a perfect festive ending to the Easter meal (Jello comes in all sorts of Easter-y, pastel colors), and was the only menu selection eaten with gusto by all four kids—and Hubby, too. For that reason alone, it was worth every minute of preparation.

My mother considered Jello fit for invalids, so rarely did I have a Jello-based dessert as a child. It wasn’t until I worked at Pacific Northwest Bell as a young married woman that I encountered a recipe tasty enough to overcome my Jello snobbery. Although I routinely packed my own lunch, on paydays I augmented my sandwich and fruit with a dessert from the cafeteria. After tasting the cafeteria’s concoction of cubed Jello molded inside a sweet, whipped-creamy pudding, I was hooked. It became my treat of preference, and I got crabby if it was sold out by the time I took my lunch break. When I got pregnant six months into my phone company career, I craved that Jello dessert—and ate it almost daily!

It wasn’t until I described the confection to my friend, Karen Schmidt (she hadn’t yet become a Gorini), that I learned its name. “Why, that’s Broken Glass Cake,” she said. "We used to have it at school [WSU] in the dorm cafeteria." She found a recipe for it and wrote it out for me.

Online one can find a number of recipes for Crown Jewel Dessert (its name in the Jello Cookbook), but in my opinion, none is as good as Karen’s recipe. I offer it now as an Easter gift to the readers of my blog. Call me corny, call me a ham (make that an Easter ham), but it’s still my favorite Easter food.


Fix 3 small packages Jello (lime, orange & raspberry are the best flavor combination, but any three flavors can be used, depending on desired color scheme) using 1 1/2 cups water with each package. Pour each flavor into pie plates (do not mix together). Let sit until firm. I do this the night before.

Next day:
Mix: 18 (square) graham crackers, rolled into coarse crumbs) with 1/3 cube butter and 3-4 Tablespoons sugar. Set aside.
Bring to boil: 1 cup pineapple juice and 3 tablespoons sugar.

Mix into pineapple juice, 2 packages Knox gelatin softened in 1/2 cup cold water. Cool this until it thickens, but do not let it get firm.

Add pineapple and gelatin mixture into 1 pint whipping cream, beaten stiffly.

Fold in carefully the three Jellos that have been cut into 1/2" to 3/4" cubes.

Pour into 9 x 13 pan and top with graham cracker mixture. Chill.


Anonymous said...

I've always loved it -- I could go for some right now! (and even though I'm going to an extravagant Easter dinner on Sunday, I know no one will be bringing BGC...)

Anonymous said...

I've never tasted it. But it looks scrumptious. Definitely goes with Easter flowers and eggs.