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.
BROKEN GLASS CAKE
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.
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.