Holiday gatherings when I was a child meant lots of relatives crowded around a table – with all the leaves added, and topped with two or three mismatched tablecloths – in a tiny dining room with floral wallpaper on the walls. The table would almost sag from all the food – turkey or ham (or maybe both), stuffing, mashed potatoes, pickles, creamed vegetables . . . and molded salads or desserts. Back in those days, molded foods that contained gelatin were salads – today, similar food are often considered desserts.
There was always just a bit of drama surrounding the molded salad. They were unmolded shortly before we ate to help ensure that they looked their best. But, there always were questions about how long the mold needed to be dipped in hot water to successfully unmold it. If it wasn’t dipped long enough, the salad might only partially come out (and look like a mess) . . . and if it was dipped too long, it might partially melt (and look like a mess).
So when I recently came across a recipe in the November, 1919 issue of American Cookery for a gelatin and cream salad (or dessert) with nuts, I just had to give it a try. There were just too many memories to pass over it – and just enough risk to make it seem like it a fun, yet slightly challenging recipe to try.
I’m pleased to report that the Nutted Cream recipe was a huge success – and I didn’t have any trouble unmolding it. The creamy salad (or dessert) with embedded nuts had just a hint of sweetness, and was a delightful treat.
In many ways the Nutted Cream seemed surprisingly modern – and if I’d put it in individual cups, instead of the mold, it would be similar to some lovely desserts that I’ve recently had at very nice restaurants.
Here’s the original recipe (and a picture!) in the 1919 magazine:
And, here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:
2 packets unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
1/4 cup hot water
3 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup finely chopped nuts (I used walnuts.) + (if desired) additional nuts for garnishing
Put the cold water in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin on top of the water. Let sit until softened (about 2 minutes). Add hot water, then place the small bowl in a pan that contains hot water. Stir the gelatin mixture until dissolved. Remove small bowl from the pan. Set aside.
Put the whipping in a mixing bowl and beat until stiff peaks form. Gradually add the powdered sugar while continuing to beat, then gently stir in the walnuts. Set aside.
Set the bowl with the gelatin mixture in a pan that contains cold water and ice cubes. Stir the gelatin mixture until it begins to thicken. Then gently fold the gelatin mixture into the whipped cream mixture.
Spoon whipped cream mixture into an 8-cup mold. Chill in the refrigerator until firm (at least two hours).
To serve, quickly dip the mold in hot water, then gently slide the Nutted Cream onto serving plate. If desired, garnish with additional chopped nuts.
32 thoughts on “Old-fashioned Nutted Cream”
There is nothing like a gelatin dish for the holidays. My family has a favorite that we make each year.
Gelatin dishes are a holiday tradition for many families.
The 1950s -1960s were resplendent with gelatin salads/desserts. They were part of any “fancy” meal. My mother’s favorite was lime jello with crushed pineapple, celery, walnuts and cottage cheese. To this day I won’t eat it!! Your nutted cream however sounds tasty albeit high in calories and cholesterol! I might need to make it – for Thanksgiving!
So many tasty holiday foods are loaded with calories . . . sigh. . . I can already tell that I’ll need to make my usual New Year’s resolution. 🙂
Similar to how I make panna cotta! The mold is lovely.
Your comment made me google “panna cotta” because I wasn’t familiar with it. You’re right – Nutted Cream is made in a similar manner to panna cotta.
I’ve never heard of nutted cream and am intrigued. I wonder how my family missed, or why they dismissed, this one? Fascinating recipe.
It’s fascinating to think about why someone selects (or doesn’t select) a particular recipe to make. The fact that the old magazine contained a picture of this recipe suggests to me that the magazine editors wanted to particularly promote it, and perhaps they thought that it might be a high interest recipe.
I hadn’t heard of Nutted Cream before either, but it sounds yummy! My Mom had a huge collection of jello molds, and we had molded salads at every holiday and a lot of Sundays when I was a kid.
My mother also had lots of jello molds. Somehow they never interested me much, and I never owned any until I started making hundred-year-old recipes – then I had to buy one.
This sounds like something I can do to make a table looks fancy! You just might make a fancy cook out of me yet!😄
I’m not much of a fancy cook, but sometimes fancy cooking overlaps with good old-fashioned cooking and then it’s possible to end up with the best of both worlds. 🙂
Fancy can be fun — and why not have fun with food? 🙂
Well worded – I agree!
We always went to my Grandma’s and the living room was turned into the dining room – there were so many of us. Yes, I remember the different tablecloths, all the dishes – fun memories. We always had a type of gelatin salad but my hubby didn’t care for them so I never made any 🙂
It’s nice to hear that this post brought back some fun memories. I occasionally made gelatin desserts when I first got married – and then didn’t make them for years, but am now rediscovering them as I browse through hundred-year-old recipes. Some look like they’d be tasty – others I’m less certain that I’d like.
Thank you! It did make a nice presentation.
it sure did!
As I’ve told you before, my one grandmother LOVED this sort of recipe. I could never understand the appeal. I think it’s great you gave this a whirl–and brought back so many fond memories!
After a long hiatus in making gelatin, I’ve had fun making occasional gelatin recipes for this blog. I find it fascinating that a commercially-produced food like gelatin was so popular with our grandmothers. I suppose that they saw gelatin as a “modern” food.
This recipe is very similar to one I recently used for Panna Cotta, (Minus the nuts, which I would leave out anyway. Yuck.) Panna Cotta sounds much more exotic!
I’ve eaten lovely desserts that I now think were Panna Cotta many times – but I never knew their name until I did this post, and you and several others commented on the similarities between Nutted Cream and Panna Cotta. This recipe probably should be renamed.
And there was tomato aspic every holiday. I can still remember the drama over the unmolding just as you wrote.
I’d almost forgotten about that one. Tomato aspic is another old-time gelatin recipe – though it wasn’t one of my personal favorites. 🙂
I remember those molded salads, and how we all held our breath until they were safely on the serving platter, hopefully (but not always) in one piece!
Some of those disasters where it didn’t end up in one piece were very memorable. 🙂
Looks good. 😀
Sheryl, nutty cream sounds very interesting!!
I will take crunchy salad and cream with roasted nuts…!
mmm. . . crunch salad with cream and toasted nuts sounds tasty – though very different from this dish.