Posted by: Erica Retrochef | April 4, 2011

Delight Fantastic!

Doesn’t that name just make you want to make it, whatever it is? Now Delight is new and improved, presenting… Delight Fantastic!

You wouldn’t expect this, though, would you? Found in the Flickr stream of Shelf Life Taste Test, “Delight Fantastic” is apparently a dubious marriage of cream cheese and mini marshmallows. Actually it’s a pretty busy dish, they’ve also included gelatin and lady fingers!

To be fair, I don’t know if I would have been able to come up with a more descriptive name. “Colored bits and marshmallows in lemony cream gelatin” doesn’t have the same zing. It really doesn’t call to mind elegant, easy, light, AND dazzling — you need a name like “Awesome Superness” or “Terrific Wonderful” or “Super Happy Fun Time.” I suppose “Delight Fantastic” has the dubious advantage of being a silly pun.

1. Dissolve 1 3-oz. pkg. lime-flavored gelatin and 1 3-oz. pkg. raspberry-flavored gelatin using 1-1/2 cups of boiling water for each. Pour each into an 8″ square pan. Chill overnight; cut in cubes.

2. Dissolve 1 3-oz. pkg. of lemon-flavored gelatin using 1 cup of boiling water. Cool, while you soften 1 8-oz. pkg. of Philadelphia Cream Cheese. Add gelatin mixture gradually blending until smooth. Chill until slightly thickened.

3. Fold in cubed gelatin, and 6 cups (1 pkg.) of Kraft Miniature Marshmallows. Pour into 9″ spring form pan, lined with 2 3-oz. pkgs. of split ladyfingers.

Chill until firm. Serves 10 to 12.

I firmly believe that recipes like these were written by a bunch of Mad Men characters while drunk (and/or stoned). I can absolutely picture an episode where they’re up against a deadline, the peons create a series of recipes to feature a company’s products (“Let’s add gelatin IN the gelatin! BRILLIANT.“), Peggy snarkily observes, “None of you have ever cooked anything, have you?” and Don saves the day with a profound soliloquy about marshmallows and family.

And then Betty throws a plate of Delight Fantastic at somebody.

Back in our modern world, it’s time to make Jell-O — lots of it!

I had lime on hand, but ended up using strawberry instead of raspberry.

I realized have a lot of gelatin sitting around, including vegetarian versions (based on agar agar) for when I make kosher gummy snacks for the kids’ lunches at summer camp. So this bizarre recipe let me clean out the cupboards a little bit.

My daughter took the majority of these photographs; her goal in life is to be an artist, and she loves playing with the camera. Digital photography is perfect for her more “experimental” shots.

Mixing Jell-O with cream cheese led to another culinary “discovery” (in this case, something I’ve repeatedly demonstrated in both retro and regular recipe attempts) — liquids and lipids don’t like to mix. Stir all you want, you’ll just get small lumps of fat in a water soup.

Finally I gave up and asked Buzz to run it through the blender; it was smooth and well-mixed in under a minute. (And oooooh did it taste nice.)

But then we had to mix in the marshmallows and Jell-O cubes, and we found a problem. The recipe called for a ridiculous quantity of marshmallows — 6 cups, which was way more than the approximately 2 cups of lemony cream cheese mixture. So we ruined the tasty lemony cream cheese by using it as a paste to stick a bag of marshmallows together.

And we ran into more trouble: the Jell-O cubes weren’t quite solid enough to endure being folded into the other components. They sort of smeared around. I stopped using the spatula for a moment because I was afraid I was crushing them too much.

In that brief pause, Buzz said, “I know!” and started mixing with his hands. All this accomplished was getting goo all over his hands instead of the spatula.

There is something about how glisteny this is that just disturbs me.

Oh well. Time to put it into the lady fingers, I guess. (eww!)

Spending the night in the refrigerator did not improve the Delight Fantastic. I at least did some productive work in the meantime, but it just sat there getting more soggy-looking.

Every step of the way I seemed to find something that made me laugh at this completely silly recipe. When I un-molded the Delight (or should it be the Fantastic?) after 24 hours, it immediately puffed out an inch around its perimeter. It’s like I’d asked it to wear a pair of jeans that was just a little too small, then after a long day it finally got to take them off — foomp!

After that, I was a little worried it would just continuing expanding horizontally until it oozed off the plate and became a strange, gelatinous pancake; however, it held its post-mold shape until we were ready to have dessert a few hours later.

I refused to serve this on a stack of balloons, by the way. That risks turning “elegant ‘n easy” into “briefly explosive, then all over the floor.”

This is probably the most excited I’ve seen the kids get about any of the retro recipes; they know these things are risky, although to their credit they always taste a bite. But they loved every part of Delight Fantastic — the name just sounded so ridiculously good, the bright colors, the Jell-O making process, the marshmallows… they knew this was going to be the Best Thing Ever.

Especially when I told them they could have as much as they want. (I looked generous and kind, while secretly knowing they weren’t going to really enjoy the mushy sugar overdrive enough to eat it all.)

The marshmallows totally killed this. Oh, wow, those marshmallows. They were in every bite, and they had soaked up moisture from the surrounding gelatins so they tasted squishy and weird. Even the kids quickly got tired of it; my daughter picked all the marshmallows out.

Opinion was divided regarding the lady finger “crust.” Buzz thought bites that included lady fingers were the only edible parts, since the dry spongy texture contrasted with the slimy gelatinous innards; I thought they were too dry and flavorless, perhaps because my taste buds were hiding from the overly sweet filling.

I will admit, it was sort of fun to make, in that “wow this is going to be so horrible” way. Each step just built up the silliness; like a bad movie that you just can’t walk out of because you want to see what stupid plot twist is coming next. It would almost be worth making to take to a potluck supper just so you’d have a great story to tell everyone at the party. “Yeah, I thought it would be an elegant centerpiece, but it’s really sad looking, isn’t it? Haha!”

If you ever try making this:

  1. Check if there’s any other options… such as, perhaps, not making it.
  2. Use only as much water as the recipe calls for (I used slightly more, following the package directions), and refrigerate the Jell-O as long as possible.
  3. There’s still time to reconsider. Maybe you can just bring cupcakes to the office holiday party?
  4. Use less marshmallows and more lemon-cheese mixture. (Look at the original recipe picture — it’s lots of yellow, not lots of white.)
  5. Throw it away. Seriously. People like a nice cheese plate or assorted vegetables.

Wow. Just… wow.



  1. Oh, dear. There was a woman who made something quite like this for church potlucks when I was a child. I tasted it — ONCE. I have no idea why she didn’t pick up a hint, since she HAD to be taking it home uneaten every month…

    • Wow, thank you Tanita! It’s always a treat to learn of something like this actually being made and eaten

  2. Best. Post. Ever. I laughed all the way through! Next time I unbutton a pair of tight jeans, I’m going to be thinking of unmolding Delight Fantastic.

    I can totally see why your kids thought this was going to be great. How sad for them that something with so much Jell-O and so many marshmallows could, in the end, be such a disappointment.

  3. There are a couple of issues with this that I think could have made it better. First, you pinpointed on the issue with the Jello. The less water you use, the firmer it will set and it should be able to handle the mixing. The other thing I would try is letting the lemon Jello liquid cool some before adding to the cream cheese and add it gradually to the cream cheese. This should allow it mix and fluff up some (especially is using a hand or stand mixer) and may be able to handle the large amount of marshmallows. Personally, I would ditch the ladyfingers all together and either leave them out or try a different crust.

  4. Aiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeee! Kill it! Kill it with fire! Lol! I don’t think even 4 more cups of marshmallows would help this.

  5. I just realized the best part about the recipe may be this: We had a few jell-o cubes left over, and they make great vehicles for the allergy pills that seven-year-old children otherwise have great difficulty swallowing

    • That was the best tip I gained out of the whole experience of reading this one, haha!! I have three little ones, and getting them to take meds can be a real pain; thanks for the tip!! Your whole family is awesome!

  6. Ha ha ha!!! Nasty!!!

  7. On the bright side, you’re daughter did a great job with the photography!

  8. […] Much like the release of the Delight Fantastic, the Fruit Cocktail Crackle started expanding after the collar was opened. (Picture that sigh of relief after releasing yourself from skinny jeans that are a bit too small.) […]

  9. I had this name recipe in my file for years until it faded. However, though it had the same name it was made with 3 colors of jello, usually red. orange. and green with only one cup of water each so it sets firm,, no marshmallows, and a container of whipped cream mixed with the lemon jello and creamed cheese. It is similar to the Broken Glass recipe other than the creamed cheese,and lemon jello added to the whipped creme. I made it for a wedding shower and a neighbor commented “Wow, I didn’t know you could cook!”
    I made it in a spring form plan and there was next to nothing left over. I’ve been looking for the missing ingredients for years. And when made this way, the ladyfingers are the perfect crust!

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