Monday, 7 April 2008

Making Fruit Juice Jellies

I've already posted about making Cranberry Jelly. Fruit juice jellies are one of our favourite desserts around here, and certainly one that I'm inclined to make more often than many others; the fat content is (usually) nil, the quantity of sugar is reasonable and there is actually some nutritional value to be had from them.

Most juices are not so intense and acidic as cranberry juice, so I am lumping all the rest of them in here. Although it is impossible to give an exact formula that will work with every juice, there is a range of measurements that will work very well. The amount of sugar you add can vary from none to quite a lot, and you may or may not wish to use some water to cut the juice. The main thing to remember is that you need to use 1 tablespoon of powdered gelatine to every 2 cups of liquid; the amount of sugar doesn't affect this.

Most people nowadays associate jelled desserts with Jell-O, and other little packets of sugar, gelatine and chemicals. Homemade jellies are so much better. I was going to say they leave Jell-O and its ilk in the dust, but frankly they are left so far behind I don't think they even know there is any dust. Except in those little packets, of course.

I made this striped jelly with blackberry pulp, passionfruit pulp, and coconut milk. The coconut milk turned out to be a great idea; the fruit juices caught me by surprise with just how acidic they were, and the coconut milk really mellowed them. Mind you, that's why I said the fat content was usually nil; this is the exception. Still, jellies are pretty moderate desserts as desserts go.

4 servings (per 2 cups)
3 to 4 hours - 5 minutes prep time

A fruit jelly made with blackberry juice, coconut milk and passionfruit juice
2 cups fruit juice or fruit juice and water
1 tablespoon powdered gelatine
1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar

The first step is to taste your juice, and decide whether to use it straight, or to mix it with water. I find pure, unsweetened juices such as blueberrry, raspberry, currant or cherry juice do better being cut. I usually use 1 part water to 2 parts juice. If the juice is sweetened or from a milder fruit, I am more likely to use them undiluted. Sometimes I add a little lemon or lime juice to the mix to add a bit of brightness and complexity to the flavour. The other time I add a little water is simply to be sure I end up with an amount of liquid that doesn't require elaborate calculations to figure out the amount of gelatine to use. i.e, if you are using a 14 ounce container of juice, don't fight it - add two ounces of water and get 2 cups. Unless you like your jelly really boingy.

If you are using water, don't mix it with the juice. Put it in a pot on the stove. If you are not using any water, put about 1/3 of the juice in the pot. Either way, put the (remaining) juice in a mixing bowl.

Sprinkle the gelatine over the juice in the mixing bowl to soften; add the lemon or lime juice if using.

Add the sugar to the water or juice in the pot. Bring to a boil, stirring to be sure that all the sugar has been dissolved. Mix the boiling water or juice into the juice and gelatine mixture. Be sure all the gelatine is dissolved.

You may wish to taste the juice at this point again. If it is not sweet enough, you can add a little more sugar, making sure it too is dissolved.

Let the mixture cool. Refrigerate until set, usually 3 to 4 hours.


Hit Pay Dirt said...

My parents gave me a jelly strainer as a gift and I've been looking forward to using it this summer. I've never made jellies before. I hope you'll post lost of local jelly recipes come berry-picking time! :)

Bellini Valli said...

I can imagine how much superior your jellies are to the rubbery Jell-O served up in restaurants:D

giz said...

In my wildest dreams I wouldn't have thought of doing this - I just figured jello was it... see, now I learned something new

Ferdzy said...

Pay dirt; I will likely post a few (jam type) jelly recipes, but I have to admit I am much more likely to make jam, for a variety of reasons.

Valli, they are really quite amazing, and Giz - you have just learned something old - this is how it was done back in Victorian days before Jello was thought of.

Although it is much easier now with powdered gelatine which is consistant and reliable. It's proabaly twice as much work to make jellies from scratch than from a packet, which is to say no work at all.