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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Quick and Dirty Dessert

We live in an area where we can pick berries in the month of July, weather and Mother Nature permitting.    For instance last year the berries were plentiful on the bushes but because there was little rain, they did not ripen to their usual tender sweetness.     Wild berries are not as plentiful as they used to be.   I remember as a child picking large gallon bucketful's.  We needed that many because us kids could eat them just as fast as mom could can them.  These days you are lucky if you can find 1 bucket full in the wild.   

Thankfully, there are a few pick your own places nearby that I like to frequent for strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and black berries.   Purchasing berries makes it easier to start the jelly process.   If I can't find enough to make the recipe I eventually end up in the frozen section of the local grocery store to purchase those frozen berries in the bag.   In fact when berries aren't plentiful, I have in the past used just the frozen berries to make jelly, no one was able to tell the difference.

Making the jelly is a process within its self.   Pick the berries, clean the berries, freeze the berries, run the berries through the food processor, cook the berries and then strain the juice from the seeds and pulp. By this time my hands are usually a lovely color purple.   Whew!  That is a lot of work for the 2 cups of juice needed to make the jelly.     Once all of that is complete I can then start the jelly making process.  However, this posting is not about the making of jelly.  It is about coming up with a quick and dirty dessert that a longtime friend asked for.  

So in an attempt to make something delicious she could duplicate, I ran to the cupboard to see if I had a jar or two of homemade jelly leftover from last year.   Lucky me, there was.   I hope you like what I come with.

Jill's Quick and Dirty Blackberry Dessert

1 jar of sugarless Blackberry jelly
1 pound cake
1 8 oz. cream cheese
1 tub cool whip (reserve 3/4 cup for garnish)
1 pint fresh black berries
1 loaf or pound cake

Place cream cheese bowl and beat until creamy.  Add 1/2 cup of the jelly,   Mix until completely combined.  Fold in container of cool whip.

Slice pound cake in 1/2 inch slices.   Lay one slice on dessert plate, spread layer of jelly over slice of cake.  Top with cream cheese mixture.  Layer on another slice of cake.  Spread on a thin layer of jelly. Top with  cool whip and a couple of fresh berries.  

Notes and swaps:
  • I love that you can mix just about anything with a brick of cream cheese and tub of cool whip.
  • you can swap out the black berry jelly for your favorite flavor jam, jelly or marmalade
  •  or you can even use crushed cookies, I have used a pkg. of Oreo's but you can use your favorite cookie
  • you could even swap out the jam for peanut butter and 1/2 cup confectionary sugar
  • I couldn't find a plain pound cake so I used a Marbled Loaf Cake
  • You could put the filling in a graham cracker crust and make a pie
  • Or you could slather between graham crackers and eat it as is.
  • Or use it as a dip with crackers 
  • I have even used this filling for a cake filling before frosting the cake.

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between all the jam/jelly's and other spreads? Are jelly and jam the same thing? What's a gelée? 
  • Jam is a thick mixture of fruit, pectin, and sugar that is boiled gently but quickly until the fruit is soft and has an organic shape, yet is still thick enough that it spreads easily and can form a blob. In addition to being a spread, jams are also good for fillings.
  • Jelly is made from sugar, pectin, acid, and fruit juice and is a clear spread that is firm enough to hold its shape. Jellies can also be made from ingredients other than fruit, such as herbs, tea, wine, liqueurs, flowers, and vegetables.
  • Fruit butter is a smooth and creamy spread that is created by slow-cooking fruit and sugar until it reaches the right consistency; these types of spreads are not always translucent and are often opaque. Fruit butters are best used as a spread and a filling.
  • Preserves are spreads that have chunks of fruit surrounded by jelly.
  • Conserves are made with dried fruits and nuts and are cooked. They have a very thick and chunky texture. Conserves work very well as a spread and as a condiment for meats and cheeses.
  • Marmalade is a citrus spread made from the peel and pulp of the fruit. Marmalades are cooked for a long time and have no pectin, and are used as spreads and glazes.
  •  Gelée is the French word for "jelly."


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