With a Cranberry on Top!

Rasp-en-Crans Salad

Rasp-en-Crans Salad

Okay, the cranberries are in it, the walnuts on top, but you get the general idea!

Serene of the (recently launched!) Mom Food Project sent in her favorite jell-o salad that sounded pretty yummy from the get-go. Actually, she described it as “strange and delicious.” I think she’s right.

Rasp-en-Crans Salad

2 1.4-oz boxes Raspberry Gelatin
1 c boiling Water
1 16-oz can Whole-Berry Cranberry Sauce
1/2 c diced Celery
1 c Greek Yogurt
1/2 c chopped Walnuts, optional

Combine the gelatin and water in a mixing bowl and stir until the powder dissolves. Chill until viscous but not firm. [In other words, don’t be in a hurry, stick it in the freezer and forget about it for an hour. But if you do, let it sit at room temperature for a while and stir with a whisk. Proceed as if you didn’t just screw it up.]

Stir in the cranberry sauce, celery and yogurt until fairly uniform, adding in the nuts if you’re using them. Divide into 4 single-serving molds or or larger bowl or mold and chill until firm.

After Serene told me about this one I was curious but having to talk myself through it, too. Celery? Not the first thing I think of with the sweet. But, you know, you top celery with peanut butter and raisins, and that’s tasty. And then there’s the fruited chicken salad–it’s borderline sweet and it’s got celery in it, too! Okay, we’re good with the celery.

Originally the reference recipes I found called for sour cream. That was a no-brainer for me: Greek yogurt is just as tasty, has less calories and is naturally fat-free. And the walnuts are only optional because Todd’s allergic. In fact, I’d suggest you hold off on the nuts if you’re taking this to a pot-luck or serving guests who may have unknown allergies just because it’s so common. I did put them on the top/side of my portion and they really did add quite a lot to the flavor of the dish.

The name amuses me, and it’s my improvisation on the very boring (yet descriptive) Cran-Raspberry or Cranberry-Raspberry titles I was finding around the web. If you have a wordy crowd you could even go so far as to call it the Rasp-en-Crantz Salad with Gilded-nuts (and actually gild the walnuts). Rosencrantz and Guildenstern? From Hamlet?

Moving on.

Oh, and I needed a garnish for the photo and all we had that looked right was cilantro. Even though it was just laying on top, a couple of bites featured a bit of the flavor of the garnish and I’ll be damned if it didn’t taste pretty good. And I’m not the biggest fan of cilantro even in the foods it’s SUPPOSED to be on. Go figure? I wouldn’t suggest chopping some up and adding it with the celery, but a chiffonade sprinkled over the top along with a little extra Greek yogurt might be just the thing to elevate this molded salad in the taste buds of others, as it did mine!


I’ve still got spaces open for more gelatin desserts! Leave ’em in the comments! There could even be prizes involved…



They are a hallmark of bygone days, incredibly retro and subject to some of the most odd flavor combinations and texture experiments ever born. Most consider them a novelty, at best, and something to be avoided at the family reunion at the very least.

I’m talking about the humble molded salad. Mixtures of reconstituted powder, canned fruit, whipped cream substitutes and who knows what else.

And I’m on a mission to find the good ones.

I’ve never been a huge fan of gelatin desserts but there was just something about the ones I had last month that really appealed to my taste buds.

  • They were sweet without being heavy.
  • The basic ingredients–gelatin, fruit, cream–aren’t inherently bad for you.
  • They are cold, perfect for the summer heat.

Oh, sure, there are some scary specimens out there. We’ve all seen them. Maybe even made some.

I tried to be inventive and use some of the things we had in our pantry to make my own version. We had cherry jell-o, canned fruit cocktail and a jar of marshmallow fluff (the latter leftover from a holiday project–honestly, I don’t usually keep these sorts of things around). I thought that the fluff would stand-in okay for the Cool Whip that seems to be a standard.

I thought wrong.

The fluff did not… mesh well with the gelatin. Oh, it tasted fine, but the texture was a bit off and the portion of the gelatin that I mixed with the fluff didn’t fully gel again, there was a bit of wateriness going on that made serving it with a slotted spoon a necessity.

There’s tons of these recipes on the ‘net–far too many for me to test and weed out the diamonds among the roughage–so I’d really love it if you’d point me in the direction of your favorites, the ones you’ve tried, your tricks with them. I’ll test the ones that seem the most promising and share my findings. This goes for the next month and a half–til the end of summer–but don’t wait. Even *I*, with my voracious sweet tooth, can only test so many options in the next 6 weeks!