Author: Belinda Jeffery
Strawberries In Jelly
Free recipe from Deserts by Belinda Jeffery, Strawberries 'n' Jelly, page 24.
I found myself smiling when I first made this jelly, as it brought back such lovely memories of my childhood. Rarely a meal went by that my mum didn’t make dessert. In winter it was some sort of comforting pudding; and in the warmer months it was often as simple as a bowlful of just-picked mulberries with a dollop of cream, or, when she was really rushed, that perennial favourite – jelly and ice-cream.
These jellies make such a lovely light dessert for summer, and although they’re finished off with a little cream (I love the luxurious quality it adds) you could just as easily top them with some good Greek-style yoghurt . . . and feel very virtuous when you eat them! I haven’t used a lot of gelatine in the recipe as I wanted the jellies to be softly set with a melt-in-the-mouth texture.
650 g ripe, red strawberries, hulled
180 g caster sugar
1 tablespoon strained fresh lemon juice
3 teaspoons powdered gelatine
very softly whipped cream or Greek-style yoghurt, to serve
unsprayed rose petals or tiny mint leaves, for scattering, optional
- Halve 400 g of the strawberries. Set the remainder aside.
- Make a sugar syrup by combining the sugar and 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) cold water in a large saucepan over high heat. Cook the syrup, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves, then stop stirring and bring it to the boil. Boil it for 5 minutes then add the halved strawberries and lemon juice and adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles gently. After 10 minutes, tip the strawberry mixture into a large, fine sieve set over a bowl (if your sieve isn’t particularly fine, line it with muslin first so none of the strawberry pulp or seeds drain through). Leave it for 40 minutes to allow every drop of liquid to drain into the bowl, then discard the strawberries. (Tempting as it is to force them through the sieve, it’s best not to as this will make the jelly cloudy.)
- Pour the strawberry liquid back into the saucepan and warm it up so it’s hot but not boiling. Following the directions on the gelatine packet, completely dissolve the gelatine in 1/2 cup (125 ml) of the strawberry liquid. Tip this mixture back into the remaining liquid in the saucepan, stir well, then pour it into a large heatproof jug and refrigerate, stirring regularly, until the jelly mixture becomes thick and viscous but not set. Meanwhile, slice most of the remaining strawberries lengthwise.
- Have ready 4 serving glasses in which to set the jellies.
- At this stage, you can just stir the sliced strawberries into the jelly mixture then divide it evenly among the glasses; however, if you do this the strawberry slices tend to form a layer on top. If you have a little time up your sleeve, to my mind the jellies look nicest of all if you dip some of the sliced strawberries into the nearly-set jelly then press them against the inside of the glasses to stick; fill the centres with more sliced strawberries, then finally, pour the near-to-setting jelly evenly over the top. Prick any air bubbles that form on the surface, then put the glasses in the fridge for the jelly to set – this should take about 6 hours. You can make them a day ahead, but they’re best eaten fairly quickly as the strawberries gradually become mushy.
- Just before serving, spoon a little very softly whipped cream or yoghurt over each jelly. Shake the glass to level it, then finish off with a tumble of the remaining strawberries (I usually slice them unless they’re very small) and perhaps a few rose petals or mint leaves. These are also lovely served with small crisp meringues to contrast with the delicate jelly and smooth cream.