Classic Rainbow Mold

No quote embodies more clearly the experience of creating the ten-layer rainbow mold. The quintessential classic Jell-O recipe, the rainbow mold pops up in nearly every gelatin cookbook. My version uses sweetened condensed milk rather than sour cream or yogurt because it tastes better and dissolves more smoothly. The rainbow mold is visually stunning, but requires so much patience that it would cause Tibetan monks to tear out their hair—if they had any. Undertaking it is no easy feat, but if you succeed, the end result is undeniably beautiful.

Note: Timing is key with this mold, so get organized before you begin. I’ve also included time estimates for each stage to help keep you on track.

Makes one 7-cup gelatin mold

6 1/4 cups boiling water
5 (3-ounce) packages flavored gelatin in 5 different colors
1 1/4 cups (14-ounce can) sweetened condensed milk

In a small bowl, add 11/4 cups of the boiling water to 1 package of the gelatin and stir until the gelatin is fully dissolved. Let the mixture cool to room temperature, then pour 3/4 cup of the dissolved gelatin mixture into a 7-cup mold. Refrigerate until set but not firm (about 15 minutes). Add 3 tablespoons of the sweetened condensed milk to the remaining gelatin and stir until the mixture is smooth. Let the mixture cool to room temperature, then pour over the clear gelatin layer in the mold. Refrigerate until set but not firm (about 15 minutes).

Repeat the process for each flavor to create 10 layers, 1 clear and 1 opaque layer of all 5 Jell-O colors. Remember that the gelatin must cool to room temperature or cooler before spooning it over the layer already in the mold. It may be best to use 2 small bowls for each flavor, one for the clear and one for the opaque gelatin to cool in before pouring each into the mold. Have 2 additional small bowls on hand so you can begin to prepare the next flavor layers while the preceding layer is cooling.

Refrigerate the finished mold until firm. Unmold and serve.

Hello Jello cookbook coverExcerpted from Hello, Jell-o! by Victoria Belanger. Copyright © 2012 by Victoria Belanger. Photographs Copyright © 2012 by Angie Cao. Excerpted by permission of Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House of Canada Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.