You family is going to think that you are so cool if you whip this out for the holidays. It costs $12 in a restaurant... and all you need is a few ingredients as the foresight to refrigerate this 4-48 hours ahead.
This makes about 10-12 servings. I'm listing NYC prices...
1.25 packets of gelatin (packets of 4 are about $2)
1 pint/2 cups of half and half ($2.5)
1/4 cup sugar ($negligible)
A few drops of vanilla extract (cents)
water (I hope it's free for you)
1 pint/2 cups of heavy cream ($3): 1 cup for the dessert and 1 cup for the whipped cream topping
Small box of raspberries ($4)
Some powdered sugar ($2 at most)
So that adds up to call it $13-14 at most, which averages to about $1 per serving. I'm never ordering this in a restaurant again.
This recipe is extremely flexible. You can make this with either half and half or cream. I like a 2:1 combo. You can also adjust the gelatin and sugar however you like.
The only non-common ingredient is gelatin, which grocery stores keep near the Jello. They come in little packets, that you must keep dry.
In my mixing bowl, I start off with 2 tablespoons of water and a sprinkle a thin layer of gelatin on top - about 1/3-1/2 packet.
This is the only hard part. If too much gelatin is clumped together, it won't mix smoothly and turn into a hard block, and it's a lot of work to separate, so you want to keep thin layers setting and floating on the top of your liquid in portions.
Then while it sits....
I dissolve 1/4 of a cup of sugar in 2 cups of half and half by zapping it in the microwave for about 45 seconds and mixing it until all the sugar granules are gone.
I then pour this mixture into my gelatin mixture while mixing vigorously, and then sprinkle the rest of the packet of gelatin on top.
I like to let it sit for a few minutes before I add 1 cup of heavy cream and sprinkle on about an additional 1/4 of a packet of gelatin.
Give it a few more swirls and pour it into your serving containers.
4-8 hours later, it should be set. We just ate it like this. It's absolutely delicious. It also keeps very well in the fridge for a few days. I just plastic wrapped it after the first 24 hours.
But if you really want to wow people, you can throw some raspberries on top, whip some whipped cream (1 cup + ~4 tbp of powdered sugar whipped to peaky fluffiness), and some jam (for Thanksgiving I made home made cranberry jam, which was just a handful of cranberries cooked in water, sugar, and a dash of lemon)
Best. Dessert. Ever. Trick someone into thinking that you're a dessert genius for the holidays. I dare you.