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Eat Like a Freshman: Blarney Stone Salad

Go ahead, kiss it — it’s Irish(ish).

Ingredients:

1 package lime Jell-O

1 cup undrained, crushed pineapple

1 package lemon Jell-O

½ cup whipped cream

1 package cream cheese

Note: The recipe’s author doesn’t specify exact measurements for some ingredients. I used the standard three-ounce packages of Jell-O and an eight-ounce package of cream cheese.

Procedure:

  1. Dissolve lime Jell-O in 1½ cups boiling water. Add pineapple and let cool in large pan or mold.
  2. Dissolve lemon Jell-O in 1½ cups boiling water. When it is partially set, beat with rotary beater. Beat in whipped cream and cream cheese. Put through ricer, or mash with a fork. Pour on top of lime/pineapple mixture. Chill.

I decided to go off the beaten Blarney Stone path in the first step of this recipe. Instead of adding the crushed pineapple straightaway, I let the lime Jell-O and the fruit chill in the fridge separately for about an hour. I wanted my fruit to be beautifully and evenly distributed throughout the lime layer of this dessert, not congealed in a solid mass at the top after flipping my mold. (I’m sure Jim used similar logic when he suspended Dwight’s stapler smack-dab in the middle of a yellow Jell-O blob.)

As I waited for the lime gelatin to partially set, I started the lemon Jell-O so that it, too, could begin chilling. Once the lime gelatin thickened a bit, I added the pineapple, poured the mixture into a small Bundt pan, and slid it back into the fridge to continue firming up.

After the lemon Jell-O started setting, I brought out my handy-dandy electric mixer, beat the Jell-O as instructed, and added the whipped cream and cream cheese. When I first read the recipe, I wondered why I’d need to mash this mixture after using a beater. Now I understand why a ricer would be helpful: the cream cheese, even at room temperature, did not gel with the gelatin. Even at high speed, my mixer couldn’t smooth out the pea-sized chunks of cream cheese. I don’t have a ricer, and neither a fork nor a beater did the job. If you try this recipe yourself, it might be worth gently warming the cream cheese before adding it to the Jell-O so that it combines more smoothly.

I spread the creamy-but-cottage-cheese-like mixture on top of my mostly set lime layer and popped the mold back into the fridge. After letting the Jell-O set overnight, I submerged the mold in a hot water bath for about 10 seconds, rubbed my rabbit’s foot for good luck, and flipped it onto a plate for maximum molded fanciness. (By the luck of the Irish, it came out in one clover-green heap after just a moment of reluctant squelching.)

Thoughts:

Let’s first address the salad’s name. According to Irish legend, kissing the Blarney Stone — a hunk of Carboniferous limestone built into southern Ireland’s Blarney Castle — will make a person persuasive and eloquent. (And flexible, considering you have to be upside down to access the right portion of wall with your lips.) People as silver-tongued as Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan, and Mick Jagger no doubt owe at least some of their oratory and singing skills to the stone.

Perhaps my own speaking and writing skills will improve now that this Jell-O salad has graced my lips. Or, perhaps more likely, this Jell-O salad is not magical at all and gets its Irish name simply from the country’s association with the color green. And, let me tell you, lime Jell-O does produce a shade of green that brings to mind Ireland’s rolling, verdant landscapes, its abundant shamrocks, and the shimmering robes of Saint Patrick.

But the flavor profile of Blarney Stone Salad is much more tropical than that of traditional Irish fare. The successful blend of citrus and pineapple and the powerful lime scent make it easy to overlook the egg-salad-esque appearance of the yellow layer and the radioactive glow of the green layer.

“This is my mother’s favorite salad for holiday and special-occasion dinners,” notes the recipe’s author, Shelley Thurman Wold ’56, MA’57. “It’s colorful and refreshing.”

After trying it for myself, I thoroughly agree. With punches of pineapple, lime, and lemon, plus tangy bits of cream cheese, it’s an old-fashioned but pleasing dessert. And the jiggle jiggle of the dish makes it particularly fun and satisfying.

With Saint Patrick’s Day dinners coming up, this might just be the dessert to wow your fellow partiers and cleanse your palate of corned beef and cabbage. And honestly, if you were ever to try a neon-green, gelatinous mass from one of the UW cookbooks, wouldn’t it be this fruity gem, and not the olive- and celery-packed Imperial Jell-O Salad?

May the road rise to meet you this Saint Patrick’s Day, and may your Jell-O shimmy and shake at your approach.

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