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4 Time Winner

Strawberry Creams topped with Raspberry Jelly Tested Recipe

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Our patterns of eating often change with the seasons. The desserts that are perfect in the middle of winter, somehow seem out of place during the hot summer months. So what I often do on hot summer days is make light and fruity gelatin based desserts. Take for example this beautiful parfait which layers a ruby red raspberry jelly with a strawberry Bavarian cream. While both layers start with sweetened fruit purees, the raspberry jelly just adds unflavored gelatin to a raspberry puree, while the strawberry cream first adds buttermilk and milk to a strawberry puree and then sets this mixture with unflavored gelatin.

The important thing to remember when making any layered gelatin dessert is that each layer must be allowed to set before you add the next layer. This keeps each layer separate and prevents one layer from bleeding into the other. For an elegant presentation, you can serve these parfaits in long stem wine glasses, oftentimes with a dollop of softly whipped cream. You can make this dessert a day or two before serving but keep them out of your children's reach as they find them very hard to resist.

I know there is an ongoing debate about whether leaf gelatin is better than powdered gelatin. For practical purposes, though, I have used powdered gelatin as leaf gelatin is hard to come by in North America, save ordering it. Powdered unflavored gelatin is sold in the baking section of grocery stores and is packaged in small boxes which hold four paper envelopes of powdered gelatin. Each 1/4 ounce (7 grams) (scant tablespoon) envelope of gelatin will jell about 2 cups (480 ml) of liquid. Unflavored gelatin is tiny granules that are tasteless, colorless, and odorless. It is used as a thickening agent but only becomes active when dissolved in hot water. To use gelatin you first need to sprinkle it over a cold liquid so the gelatin softens, swells and becomes spongy. The softened gelatin then needs to be warmed so the granules completely dissolve and the proteins become activated. To check to see if the gelatin has completely dissolved, dip a spoon into the gelatin and check to see that all the crystals have melted.

 

Strawberry Cream:  Place the thawed strawberries, sugar, and buttermilk in your food processor and process until very smooth. (Taste and add more sugar, if necessary.) Transfer this mixture to a medium sized saucepan and bring just to a boil, stirring constantly.

Meanwhile, sprinkle the gelatin over 1/2 cup (120 ml) of cold water.  Let this mixture sit for 5 - 10 minutes.  Then stir the softened gelatin into the heated strawberry cream and continue stirring until the gelatin particles have completely dissolved.  Let the cream cool slightly and then pour into 6 - 8 wine glasses, custard cups, or ramekins.  (Make sure to leave enough space in each glass for about 1/4 cup (60 ml) of raspberry jelly.)   Place in the refrigerator and chill until the cream has set, between 2 to 4 hours.  Then make the raspberry jelly.

Raspberry Jelly:  Place the frozen raspberries and sugar in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.  Cover the bowl with a piece of aluminum foil and heat the berries, stirring occasionally, for about 30 - 40 minutes, or until the berries are soft and have released their juices. Then, remove the berries from the heat and press them through a fine meshed strainer suspended over a large measuring cup.  All that should be left in the strainer is raspberry seeds.  You will need 1 1/4 cups (300 ml) of raspberry juice so add water, if necessary.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl soften the gelatin in 1/4 cup (60 ml) of cold water.  Let this mixture sit for 5 - 10 minutes.  Meanwhile heat the raspberry juice until hot, stirring constantly.  Stir the softened gelatin into the heated raspberry juice until the gelatin particles have completely dissolved.  Return the mixture to the heat, if necessary.  Let the raspberry jelly cool slightly and then pour over the chilled strawberry cream.  Refrigerate for about 2 - 4 hours or until set.  Serve with a dollop of softly whipped cream.

Makes 6 - 8 individual servings.

References:

Alexander, Stephanie. 'The Cook's Companion'. Lantern. A Penguin Group. Victoria: 2003.

Gold, Rozanne. 'Desserts 1-2-3'. Stewart, Tabori & Chang. New York: 2002.

Grigson, Jane. 'Jane Grigson's Fruit Book'. Penguin Books. London: 1982.

Strawberry Cream:

21 ounces (600 grams) frozen unsweetened strawberries, thawed

1/3 - 1/2 cup (65 - 100 grams) granulated white sugar

1 1/3 cups (320 ml) buttermilk

2 packages (1/2 ounce) (14 grams) unflavored gelatin

1/2 cup (120 ml) cold water

Raspberry Jelly:

1 - 12 ounce (340 grams) bag of frozen, unsweetened raspberries

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (80 grams) granulated white sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin

1/4 cup (60 ml) cold water

 
 
     
 

 

 

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