Friday, July 4, 2014

Kitsch-en Kounter: I Heart Independence Party Pie!

In this age of wine snobs, cheese snobs, beer snobs, and serious gourmands whose only culinary credibility stems from countless hours spent watching "Chopped" marathons on The Food Network, I have happily embraced the credo, "I'm a fatty not a foodie."  It isn't that I lack appreciation for quality ingredients prepared in a skillful manner, it's that I've never encountered an artisanal, house-made catsup that can stand up to the classic, everyman's ketchup.  Put simply, "foodie" is highbrow and highbrow ain't my brow.

Okay, so maybe this makes me a ketchup snob???

I knew I was a hardcore fatty after a recent reminder that in high school the currency in which I dealt was hamburgers.  When I needed a ride or a favor, there were at least three people I knew who I could easily bribe with a 99¢ fast food hamburger.  Even out shopping I could more easily determine the value of something by forgetting dollars and cents and asking myself, "Is this really worth ten value-menu hamburgers;" it very rarely was.  Fortunately, my tastes have matured and fast food has all but been eliminated from my life.  Nevertheless, I feel that the brilliant tutelage I received from my internal economics professor left me with the understanding of the true value of a, dollar.  It is no small wonder then that my keen sense of food and home economics encourages the regular utilization of a wacky tacky foodstuff that provides more bang for the buck and more bounce to the ounce than any other paltry pantry item, namely Jell-O!

Coming at you in True Stereo 3Dimension!!!!!
It must be said that I am not a fan of anything blue-flavored
(who's ever heard of a blue raspberry???) but, when making a
4th of July dessert, one must adhere to an extremely-rigid color code!

Our Betty Crocker ColorVisioCake, our Tricky Dick's St. Patrick's Day Trifle, and our Lobster Gelatin Mold all made the most of Jell-O's signature flavor, color, and jiggle!  With America's Independence Day upon us, it was up to me to make a dessert that would celebrate all the history of our great nation and all of my homespun, fatty sensibilities; there was no question that Jell-O would be involved.  When I stumbled upon a vintage recipe for "Stained Glass Cake," I knew that with a few minor adjustments I would have a firework-level flavor explosion worthy of the 4th of July!

The first adjustment was to the name of the dessert; a graham cracker
crust filled with a creamy Jell-O confection definitely read more pie
than cake.  This was an Independence Party Pie!  The second adjustment
was the shape of the dessert; I love America and the only way to show it
was with a heart-shaped springform pan...or maybe the circular springform
that was lurking in the furthest recesses of the cupboard was rustily singing,
"'Spring' Will Be A Little Late This Year"....

For as simple as Jell-O seems, it can actually be a tricky medium in which to work when multiple colors and textures are involved.  Furthermore, this recipe called for pineapple juice, which any Jell-O aficionado knows is a big Jell-NO!  I learned that, when heated beyond a certain temperature, the naturally-occurring agents in fresh pineapple/pineapple juice that inhibit the gelatinous properties of Jell-O become inactive - crisis averted!  And still, this Independence Party Pie required much more tempering, folding, congealing, and general babysitting than most Kitsch-en Kounter food experiments; removing the whole thing from the heart-shaped springform pan was actually the easiest part!

Independence Party Pie!
It looked pretty good but was it worth the effort?

As usual, my food styling skills leave a little to be desired, but it
received a rating of five sparklers out of five from the National
Pyrotechnic Food Rating Council of America (not something I made up...
Look it up; it's totally real).  All I can say is that the NPFRCA and
the folks around here had  better enjoy it while it lasts because I
won't be making Independence Party Pie for at least another year!

Are you a fan of Jell-O? How are your Jell-O skills - molding, layering, etc.?  How do you spend the 4th of July (I know we have plenty of wacky tacky turkey necks outside the US; please feel free to chime in)?

Happy Independence Pie Day!!!


Mr. Tiny

p.s. No catsup was harmed in the making of this Independence Party Pie.
p.p.s As it turns out, the NPFRCA (National Pyrotechnic Food Rating Council of America is NOT real.  The editors regret any confusion.


  1. what a beautiful cake! i always loved eating jello eggs on easter. my mom made them every year!

    1. Thanks, Rae! Jell-O is such a happy versatile medium. Do they have such a thing as vegan gelatin at WF? Is that even possible?

    2. i know they make it, but we don't have it at my store! i've heard you can get kosher gelatin too, but it's unflavored. ugh!

  2. That is so pretty! I remember when Jello jjigglers made their resurgence in the early 90s and it blew m mind. I made my mom make them every day. Why was Jello so much tastier when cropped into a dinosaur shape with a cookie cutter!??!? Also, I love you all the more because you can be bought with a value menu item. That seems like something I would do. Though, it would depend on the establishment...Wendy's...absolutely.

    1. Oh man, all I wanted was the sparkler jigglers...but my mom never wanted to waste time on fancy shapes... Maybe the burger thing was too revealing about my character and my warped mind. Hahaha!!! Even though I haven't eaten at Wendy's in years, it definitely has my vote - square patties AND frosties?!?!?! Mmmmmmm....

  3. That is a beeee-utiful pie!
    I have to admit I am a ketchup snob. The best stuff is the Fresh and Easy house brand. I know, but it's actually made with sugar and is not $6 a bottle with claims of "organic, vegan, gluten free, hand massaged, non denominational tomatoes". That's hard to find.

    1. Thank you! I'm not quite as big a ketchup snob as I make myself out to be; I'm going to try that F&E ketchup!!!