As I wrote the other day a few seconds spent tweaking presentation can elevate the most humdrum of dishes into something rather more special.
Here I set elderflower cordial into a jelly, added some fruit and tilted the glass whilst the jelly set – once set fill up the glass with some creamy topping sprinkle with more fruit and you have a simple but stunning pudding. (My cordial was homemade and a few years old so had gone rather cloudy – using a different one would give you a clear jelly)
I have not made jelly for ages and had forgotten not only how easy it is to make, but it is also such fun to eat!
There are a number of ingredients which can be used to set liquid into a jelly:-
- Gelatine – which I dislike as I find the smell really off-putting, it is not vegetarian – although I eat meat but really find the idea of it in a pudding unpleasant, and I have found it impossible to find organic gelatin – using such a small amount I really do not care about the organic aspect but it is a good way of ensuring higher animal welfare. I do use it for marshmallows as have not yet mastered a vegetarian alternative.
- Vegetarian Gelatine Substitutes – I’ve used Dr Oetker’s Vege-gel which is widely available.
- Agar Agar – A made from seaweed – I use Clearspring’s made only of seaweed with no added nasties. A box seems more expensive than either gelatine or Vege-Gel but contains far more product.
Agar has a higher melting point so will not have the melt in the mouth quality of a jelly made from gelatine.
A new discovery is Ambrosia’s Devon Dream (“Tastes like custard, pours like cream”) which I found a pot of in a goodie bag last week. It is quite custardy by itself, but I rather like it whipped into cream where it gives it some flavour, sweetness and colour – it has 80% less fat than single cream, and the fact that it does not need to be stored in the fridge until it is opened makes it really rather useful and I will be thinking up some more ideas for it.
My serving glasses are the Lemongrass tumblers from Sabichi – a good size, reassuringly solid with a classic gently curved shape – also perfect for serving puddings in.
Here is a base recipe to get you started – the ideas for flavours and presentation are endless.
Simple but Stunning dessert
- 350 ml water
- 2 tbs agar agar flakes
- 50 ml elderflower cordial I used my homemade which is why the jelly is cloudy
- Selection of berries – halved strawberries and blueberries
- 150 ml double cream
- 260 ml Devon Dream or other ready made custard
Pour the water into a small pan and sprinkle the agar flakes on top. Heat and allow to simmer before stirring. Simmer for a few minutes until the agar has dissolved.
Allow to cool and add cordial to give a strong flavour.
Pour into glasses add the fruit and set them at an angle to set (I balanced them in ramekin dishes).
Whip the cream until stiff and then gently whip in the Devon Dream. The custardy cream should be quite soft but still hold a little shape.
Set the jelly glasses upright and dollop in the custard and cream mix. Decorate with some more fruit and sprinkle with icing sugar.
The quantity of both the jelly and cream topping needed needs to be just under half the total volume of the serving glasses.
Allow the jelly to cool, but not start to set, before pouring into the glasses as the hot liquid could crack them.
Try using different cordials or liquids for the jelly.
With thanks to Sabichi for the tumblers.