Beer Jellies. Recipe & image extracted from Bitter: A Taste of the World’s Most Dangerous Flavour by Jennifer McLagan, published by Jacqui Small
“My fascination with jelly began as a child. My mother made wobbly sweet jellies for dessert. They were fruit flavoured and came from a packet; it was one of the only packaged foods we ate. Jelly is glimmering, transparent and fleeting – perfect out of the mould, then resembling a train wreck the moment it’s cut.
When I started to cook I eschewed the packaged jellies. I jellied coffee, Champagne and even milk using sheets of gelatine that looked like old glass windows. Then I went one step further (or one step too far, depending on your opinion) and made my gelatine from scratch, using calf’s feet and a lot of patience. Still, despite making everything from fruit jelly to brawn, I had never thought of jellying beer.
This beer jelly isn’t dessert; it’s distinctively savoury, and that’s what makes it interesting. I discovered it at Semilla restaurant in Paris, where it accompanies their house-smoked salmon. The salmon was delicious, but the beer jelly grabbed my attention. I serve it with fatty smoked fish, beer-poached prawns, country ham or a plate of Cheddar cheese, smoked sausage and pickles. Or serve it as a palate cleanser between courses. You only need a small amount of this jelly, 1 or 2 cubes; set it in ice cube trays so you can avoid cutting it. Each ice cube mould in a tray usually holds about 1 tablespoon, so you’ll need two trays. The jelly will keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator.”
Beer Jelly (Jello)
- 500 ml cold wheat beer (18 fl oz)
- 1 packet powdered gelatine (7 g/ ¼ oz)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 50 g caster sugar (1¾ oz)
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Pour 60 ml (2 fl oz) of the beer into a small saucepan, sprinkle over the gelatine and leave to stand for 5 minutes. Add the salt.
- Pour the remaining beer into a bowl and add the sugar and lemon juice, then stir to mix. Stir the beer a few times to get rid of the foam. Rinse the ice cube trays with water; it will make the jelly cubes easier to unmould.
- Place the saucepan over a low heat and stir to dissolve the gelatine. When it is dissolved, pour it into the beer-sugar-lemon mixture, stirring to mix, then pour into the rinsed trays and refrigerate until set.
- When ready to serve, turn out the jelly cubes onto a damp surface. Wet your hands and a thin spatula to make it easy to transfer them to a serving plate.