I am obsessed with jelly. Have been for a while now and one of my dreams is to be able to afford to commission Bompas and Parr to make me some giant, wobbly creation.
Partly, it is the pure, clean flavours that can be achieved and the fact that while it is a dessert, there is no fear of the side effects I get from anything dairy.
Partly, it is the texture. The essential wibbliness of it. I can’t really explain it but I am sucker for it and I am over the moon at the fact of Pret now doing Jelly in their dessert section. Nice one, Pret. Yet another reason to count your branches which open late as bone fide dining establishments when out on the cheap.
This is one I made recently in order to indulge both my passion for Jelly and my growing obsession with herbs, particularly those I am growing myself. My lavender (2 types – don’t ask me which) and my pineapple mint are both blooming like good un’s and it seemed only right that something edible should be done with the flowers.
Lavender, Mint and Muscat Jelly
37.5cl Samos dessert wine
Large handful each of lavender and mint flowers
Gently heat the wine with the washed flowers and simmer away until the alcohol has boiled off then take off the heat and leave the flowers to seep for a good 20 – 30 mins.
Meanwhile, get the gelatine ready according to the instructions on the packet. I rarely use the vegetarian kind as I find the texture different and, for me, not quite as good. The springiness is somehow less firm and while the whole point of jelly is the wiggle, it must never wiggle loosely. That is very unattractive.
Strain the wine and flowers and then melt the gelatine leaves into the liquid, pour into a fabulously retro container (I got an amazing one here recently), wait to set and off you go.
The result was very good. The Lavender came through more than the mint but overall, there was a definite aura of flowers with a dash of goodly orange blossom acidity from the wine. Very summery.
I repeated the exercise a week later but this time, using water and fruit sugar instead of the wine. For balancing acidity, I used fresh blueberries which are particularly good from the farmers market at the moment.
This result was, predictably, much more delicate. I liked it but I think some would find it just too restrained and elegant. As I managed to eat all of it by myself (over 5 days, to be fair), this didn’t matter.