Happiness is Cherry Jelly!

>> Sunday, 2 May 2010

I have been inspired by the fantastic Cherry Blossom in bloom at the moment...

Apparently, it's the best bloom for years due to the cold weather. I can't think I've ever noticed it much before, but it's everywhere at the moment and it makes me smile just looking at it!

So, it got me thinking about cherry recipes and, with the optimism of bright sunny weather, something light and fun to eat. Well, what could be more fun than jelly?! I don't think I've ever indulged in jelly as an adult dessert. My jelly memories are firmly fixed in childhood with images of brightly-coloured, super-sweet puddings mixed into some gloopy mess with ice cream...hmmmmm!

Anyway, I've never made it 'properly' (i.e. not from a Rowntree's packet) and decided adult jelly progression was in order! A little recipe searching and some amends to suit my taste, time and supermarket availability, resulted in my Very Cherry Jelly below, enhanced greatly with a little Prosecco....

Serves 2
1 tin of cherries
125ml Prosecco (or sparkling wine)
75ml of cherry juice (drained from the tin)
40gms caster sugar
1 1/2 sheets of gelatine

1. Place gelatine sheets in cold water until soft (5-10 mins)
2. Heat cherry juice with sugar on a low heat and stir until dissolved
3. Squeeze out all the water from the gelatine and then stir it into the juice and sugar until dissolved (residual heat should be enough to do this)
4. Add the Prosecco and stir
5. Place a few tsps of cherries into the bottom of 2 pudding basins and half-fill with your cherry liquid
6. Chill for about 3 hours until it starts to set and then add another spoon of cherries and fill with the remaining cherry liquid
7. Chill for another 4-6 hours until firmly set

To serve these, place the pudding basin in a bowl of warm water (this will release the jelly from the edges) and then place a plate on top of the basin and flip over. The jelly will then be a lovely, glossy dome on your plate!

Now, I appreciate this is a little faffy (I suggest making the day before you need them), but it's really, really yummy! The jelly is delicately flavoured and the prosecco adds a naughty fizz....definitely adult jelly!

The point of half-filling then chilling and repeating is so the cherries are evenly distributed, however you could skip these steps resulting in all the cherries being at the top when you flip it over. I actually think this would be quite pretty (and easier!!).

I should also point out that vegetarians can use Agar powder as an alternative to gelatine and that the juice in the tin of cherries was actually apple juice, but it's coloured pink by the cherries and tastes more cherry than apple anyway! If you find a better alternative I'd use that to create a more intense cherry flavour.

I think I'll play around with this recipe quite a bit too. I quite fancy a Turkish delight style jelly using rose water and champagne and serving with crystallised rose petals. Also, think I might try pomegranate jelly using POM juice and pomegranate seeds.... I'll post all of these when I get round to making them!!

However, I should highlight my one disappointment on my exploration into the world of adult jelly...the Rhubarb and Champagne jelly below...

It was a Gordan Ramsay recipe, taken from The Times, which was a lot of effort (poach/cool/filter/mix/chill overnight etc..etc...) for not a lot of taste. I'll blame the Rhubarb on this occasion!

Helen x

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