Cooking with Miranda

The Joy of Jello

This Jell-o-centric booklet was a birthday gift from a friend.  Flipping through it, the Fella became fixated on a picture within the pages.image-23-300x300    “The Birthday Surprise” is a ring of strawberry-banana Jello, surrounded by gumdrops and birthday candles, and filled with strawberry and vanilla ice-cream.  “Can you make this?”  The Fella asked me.  “For your birthday party?”  I asked, wondering what sort of moulded Jello fiend I had created.  “Yeah….except maybe without strawberry ice cream, I’m not a fan of strawberry ice cream,” was his reply.    “If that’s what you want,” I acquiesced.  It seemed like a reasonable addition to a menu of deviled eggs, pigs-in-blankets, canapes, and a most glorious blue cheese and bacon ball.  

We decided upon a few other recipe tweaks to make it a little more of a “surprise.”  I decided to do more of a molded ring jello salad than a ring of straight jello.  We swapped out the strawberry-banana flavored jello in favor of plain strawberry.  We added sliced up strawberries and pineapples, layered, to give the dessert some more substance.  The ice cream was a wonderful Mexican Vanilla from our local creamery, Fat Cat.   Over all, it and its boozey jello brother, the Grasshopper Pie seemed to be big hits with guests because of their novelty.  Fella was very pleased with the results.  If a successful party is marked by its lack of leftovers, this one was a resounding win for the Modage denizens.


Birthday Surprise
Serves 10
A festive ring of jello filled with ice cream.
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Prep Time
30 min
Prep Time
30 min
  1. 6 oz package of Strawberry Jello
  2. 1.5 cups of sliced strawberries
  3. 1 can of crushed pineapple, drained
  4. 1 cup of boiling water
  5. 1.5 cups of cold water
  6. Ice cream of your choice
  7. Birthday Candles
  8. Gumdrops and marshmallows for garnish
  1. Add 1 cup of boiling water to jello in a large heat proof bowl. Whisk until dissolved and add cold water. Pour about one inch of jello into mould and add sliced strawberries. Pour in enough jello mixture to cover strawberries and add drained, crushed pineapple. Pour in enough jello mixture to cover pinapple. Chill until firmly set. Unmould, fill ring with ice cream scoops and garnish with candy and candles.
  1. Put ring mould into cake pan to prevent a mess in your refrigerator. You may have left over ingredients due to variations in jello ring mould sizes.
  2. There are so many different permutations to this recipe that you could try. Orange jello with pineapple and carrots, lemon jello with whipped cream. Strawberry banana with strawberries and bananas.
Adapted from Joy of Jell-o
Adapted from Joy of Jell-o


  • lynne

    I have this book, too! It was my mom’s and we had quite a few of those desserts growing up. I used to make jello desserts, but once my daughter learned that jello was made from pigs feet, that ended that. But jello is such a satisfying, light dessert. “There’s always room for Jello.” (Try to put Mr. Cosby out of your mind.)

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