Recipe Review

I Tried the Reddit-Famous 60-Year-Old “Nervous Pudding” and It May Be This Summer’s Big Hit

published Jun 15, 2023
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Strawberry nervous pudding served on a plate with fork on the side.
Credit: Lena Abraham

There’s a hot new (well, old) recipe making the rounds on r/Old_Recipes, the Subreddit that brought us those irresistible dream bars, and it comes from the most unlikely of places: a Jell-O advertisement. The creamy fruit pie (sometimes called “nervous pudding”) made with Jell-O, fresh fruit, and an entire pint of vanilla ice cream, had me both intrigued and skeptical. User been_waiting_forever’s rave review likened the sweet to a Creamsicle, and commenters agreed. My curiosity got the better of me, so I made my way to the grocery store to pick up the three essential ingredients to make this Pepto-pink pie. 

Get the recipe: Strawberry Nervous Pudding

Credit: Lena Abraham

How to Make Reddit’s Strawberry Nervous Pudding

If you’re looking for a dessert that takes minutes to assemble, or a recipe you can make with kids, you’ve come to the right place. It’s not much harder than preparing a box of Jell-O.

Start by dissolving a 3-ounce box of flavored Jell-O (I went with strawberry) in 1 1/4 cups of boiling water. Add in a pint of vanilla ice cream and stir into the Jell-O until it’s completely melted. Transfer the mixture to an 8-inch pie plate (or into a premade graham cracker crust, if you like) and chill until thick.

Fold a cup of fresh fruit (such as halved strawberries) into the Jell-O mixture, then return the pie to the refrigerator to chill until firm, a few hours up to overnight.

Credit: Lena Abraham

My Honest Review of Reddit’s Strawberry Nervous Pudding

I really did not know what to expect from this retro dessert. As someone who doesn’t like Jell-O but loves vanilla ice cream, I was curious to see how I’d feel about them together. 

Fortunately the ice cream really curbed the Jell-O’s artificial flavor into something much more convincingly natural-tasting. And with the help of fresh fruit, I thought the strawberry flavor was deliciously subtle and not nearly as cloyingly sweet as I expected it to be. Creamsicle, as it turns out, was a great description. Velvety, light, creamy, and super fruity, it’s a great hot-weather dessert.

The only thing I didn’t love about this pie was the texture. Because the fresh fruit loses some moisture as it chills, the pie didn’t fully firm up; some parts were jiggly and other parts were a bit soupy. A few minutes in the freezer did help to remedy this, but overall the consistency was a little off. (My slice definitely wasn’t as clean as in the advertisement!)

Credit: Lena Abraham

3 Tips for Making Reddit’s Strawberry Nervous Pudding

  1. Make sure to completely dissolve your Jell-O before adding the ice cream. You’ll need all the gelatinization you can get, so make sure all that powder and sugar have completely disappeared before melting in the ice cream.
  2. For a cleaner slice, pop the whole thing in the freezer for 15 minutes. A little time in the freezer does wonders for this pie’s texture. Just don’t leave it in much longer than 15 minutes or the fresh fruit will get icy and freeze.
  3. Mix and match with your favorite flavor combinations. Any Jell-O flavor and fruit will work, so play mad scientist and find your favorite combo! I have a feeling orange Jell-O with raspberries, lemon Jell-O with blueberries, or lime Jell-O with sliced mango would be wildly delicious.