Making Jello without the Box

America’s favorite dessert just got healthier. Making your own jello is easier than you think. No artificial color or flavor, just pure fruit juice, gelatin, and a cream cheese layer. I threw in some pomegranate seeds to celebrate the season and …voila!


for a 6 cup mold
1 pomegranate
2 cups cranberry juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 cups apple juice
8 oz. cream cheese at room temp
1/2 cup milk
4 T. powdered sugar
15 sheets gelatin (see note) or 4-1/2 T. Knox unflavored powder gelatin

Note: Gelatin can be purchased two ways. The most common is in powder form that can be found at your local grocery store. The other is in thin sheets that I mail order here. I prefer using the sheets. They produce a beautiful glass like jello with a clean taste and without the yellow tinge of the powder.

Cut a pomegranate in half and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Set aside.

In a saucepan, mix 1/4 cup sugar with the cranberry juice and heat only to dissolve the sugar. Transfer to a bowl and cool completely. Repeat with the apple juice.

In a mixer, beat cream cheese, milk, and powdered sugar until smooth. Set aside.

Add gelatin to 3 small bowls. If using powder, add 1-1/2 T. to each bowl, or 5 sheets to each bowl. Cut each sheet into 6 pieces with scissors.

Pour about 1/2 cup of the cooled juices over the gelatin only to cover. You will have one bowl of cranberry and two of apple.

Set aside to soften at least 10 minutes. In the meantime, simmer some water in a double boiler.

Once the gelatin has softened, starting with the apple, place it in the double boiler and stir until completely dissolved, then mix it into the cold apple juice that you have set aside. This is your top layer. Pour 2 cups of it into your mold ,and place in the refrigerator for about 10-15 minutes until it is the consistency of egg whites. Then add your pomegranate seeds. Set it back into the refrigerator while you prepare the next layer.

Repeat this process with the cream cheese layer. Heat the second apple juice- gelatin mixture over the double boiler and stir to dissolve the gelatin, then mix it into the cream cheese mixture. Remove the mold from the fridge, and pour evenly on top. Chill another 15 minutes or so before adding the final cranberry layer.

Repeat this process of dissolving the cranberry-gelatin mixture and then mixing it into the remaining cranberry juice. Pour into your mold and allow to chill at least 6 hours or overnight.

To release from the mold, pour hot water into a large bowl. Carefully lower the mold into the water making sure water doesn’t get into the mold. Hold for about 15 seconds, then turn out onto a serving plate.

An elegant and healthy dessert for your holiday table.


4 thoughts on “Making Jello without the Box

  1. This will definitely be on our Thanksgiving table. Makes me hearken back to jello molds in days gone by. This will be a big hit; thank you for making me look good Kathy!

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