Homemade Fresh Strawberry Jello for Mother’s Day

Homemade Jello With Strawberries Recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Jell-O always seemed a bit like magic to me. Add water to the brightly colored, sugary powder and in no time it’s solid and giggles like a good belly laugh. The problem is, the stuff in the box tastes like congealed, watered-down kool-aid. There is no actual fruit involved, just artificial color and flavor. Luckily gelatin desserts have earned more respect in the past decade with the popularization of panna cotta and other sophisticated, intense flavors, like wine and espresso. The best part of using gelatin is being able to create sexy shapes out of a liquid. Panna cotta just wouldn’t be the same if it was a puddle of custard on a plate. Knowing how to work with unflavored gelatin properly means you can set a liquid, without having it bounce like a rubber ball. You want to use just enough to keep its shape, but still have a smooth, luscious feel. This homemade jello dessert is nothing but pure, ripe, sweet strawberries pureed and set with a bit of gelatin in a fun mold. A bowl of perfect strawberries and cream is nice, but when you present this regal dessert to your mom, it will take her breath away and she deserves that.

Homemade Jello With Fresh Strawberries

2 1/2 pounds strawberries (fresh or frozen)

1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons sugar

3 packets unflavored Knox gelatin (for a vegetarian alternative try using agar-agar)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup heavy cream

Fresh strawberries with sugar | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

In a saucepan cook the strawberries and 1 cup sugar over medium-low heat. If you are using fresh strawberries you may need to add 2 tablespoons of water. Cook until the fruit is softened. Frozen and VERY ripe fruit will cook faster.

Pureed Strawberries | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Use a regular or Immersion Hand Blender to puree the fruit. Strain the seeds and return to the pot. Using a Chinoise Strainer will make the job go much faster.

Mixing Gelatin Powder with Water | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

In a small bowl, pour the 3 packets of gelatin over 1/2 cup of water, making sure no dry powder remains. Let the gelatin sit until it “blooms” and absorbs all the water.

Stirring gelatin into strawberry puree | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Heat the strained puree to a simmer, turn off the heat and add the bloomed gelatin. Stir until the gelatin is melted and evenly distributed in the puree.

Jello Mold | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Choose a mold that fits at least 5 cups. I used the Lekue Imperial Monarch Mold which is made of silicone.

Strawberry Jello in Mold | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Fill the mold with 3/4 of the puree. Set the mold in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or until a skin is formed on the top.

Mixing Strawberry Puree with Heavy Cream for Homemade Jello | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Pour half the remaining puree into a bowl. Whip the heavy cream with 2 tablespoons sugar and add it to the puree in the bowl.

Folding Heavy Cream into Strawberry Puree for Homemade Jello | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Gently fold the cream into the puree.

Homemade Jello in Mold | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Add the cream/puree mixture to the mold, refrigerate for about 15 minutes, or until it has set slightly. Add the remaining strawberry puree to the top. Set in the refrigerator for about 3 hours or until well set.

Homemade Jello Recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

To un-mold the jello: fill a large vessel with hot water.

Dipping jello mold in a hot water bath | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Dip the homemade jello into the hot water, being careful not to get water over the lip of the mold. You may need to use a knife to carefully separate the edge of the mold from the jello. Let the mold sit in the water for about 15 to 30 seconds.

Homemade Jello With Strawberries Recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Set the jello on a platter.

Homemade Jello With Strawberries Recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Homemade Jello With Strawberries Recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Use a thin bladed knife dipped in hot water to cut the homemade jello.

Homemade Jello With Strawberries Recipe | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Happy Mother’s Day!