Jelly July Journal - Concentrating on Citrus
When J-fashion enthusiasts think of summer fruit, there's a clear winner: cherries. But there's a close second!
(Kelp, where are you going with this...)
Living in California, it's difficult to think of fruit as 'seasonal' - sure, prices might drop a little during certain months, but being in the country's largest agricultural economy combined with robust importing from the Southern Hemisphere, means that my local produce section looks much the same all year. Moreover, as a resident of many a former citrus grove, I know oranges are harvested year-round. And in Japan (the only country with four distinct seasons, of course), mikan are ready in early winter, with daidai proudly sitting atop kagamimochi celebrating the New Year.
Still, I think there's some association for us between oranges and summer, if only due to marketing campaigns...(Cuties™ are made for kids! Adult consumption is forbidden.)
Whip it, (don't) shake it
Two Easy Tuesday fulfills one main objective of Jelly July: test simple-to-make recipes for the Bay Area Kei community to try.
Front and center is a Double Orange Whip, which involved my new favorite pastime: boiling carbonated beverages. Whipped gelatin arguably isn't the easiest (you do have to get out an electric mixer, or muscle your way through it), but it's fairly foolproof, and results in a light, fluffy dessert.
To the right is a Creamy Orange Shake, my first Do Not Recommend. It tasted fine, but as I suspected, this one was a little too easy; just throwing in the gelatin with the rest of the ingredients in the blender instead of dissolving it in boiling water first meant the resulting shake had an occasional grainy texture...you'd be better off just omitting the gelatin altogether.
Double Orange Whip
7 fluid oz. ginger ale
1 3-oz. package orange-flavored gelatin
1 cup cold orange juice
Boil ginger ale in small saucepan. Remove from heat and combine with gelatin in medium mixing bowl. Stir until gelatin is completely dissolved. Add cold orange juice. Place bowl in a larger bowl of ice water, and stir until slightly thickened.
Kelp tip: 'Slightly thickened' is often defined as 'the consistency of unbeaten egg whites', which I find very unhelpful. I recommend periodically attempting to whip the gelatin with a whisk - when bubbles form easily, it's probably good to go.
Whip with electric mixer until fluffy and thick, and about double in volume. Spoon into individual dessert dishes. Chill until set (at least 30 minutes). Makes approximately 4 cups.
Whip it, (attempt to) freeze it
Next up was the second iteration of Freezy Friday, or more accurately Food Photography - Time Trial Stage. (Who knew frozen desserts melt quickly when it's hot? Oh, we all did? Hmm.)
Somehow, when I copied this recipe for Orange Cream Sherbet down, I made an easily-fixed error (too little sugar), but when correcting, realized I made yet another error that there was nothing doing for (too much water).
My sour mood continued when I couldn't get my egg whites whipped stiff (to be fair, I could have tried again using my copper bowl and clean beaters, but I suspected I was doomed at this point). But nothing compared to the frustration I faced after stopping my ice cream maker to fold in the whipped cream - as soon as the paddle stopped, the sherbet mixture continued to freeze, and no amount of finangling could get my bowl in a state where the motor could continue to churn smoothly. But hey, this was written pre-motorized ice cream makers, just do it by hand!
While ultimately, the sherbet still came out tasting fine, I can't really recommend this recipe for two reasons. First, while making a creme anglaise custard for ice cream can be a lot of work, having to dirty not one, but four mixing bowls for a sherbet seemed like a lot (plus, I suspect the whipped egg whites weren't contributing much). Second, if using a motorized ice-cream maker, stopping mid-way to incorporate the rest of the ingredients can result in a sticky situation, both literally and figuratively.
While I waited for it to set up, I consoled myself by making a parfait recipe I spotted on the Knox Gelatine box that cleverly used the gelatin to achieve a nifty angled layer, but lo, this too ended poorly. The original recipe uses fruit punch and vanilla yogurt, which I replaced with orange juice and vanilla ice cream, respectively. The latter substitution was fine, but the former ended up making the juice-only layer too tart for my taste.
Fruit Punch Parfait
1 envelope (0.25 oz.) Knox unflavored gelatin
1¾ cups fruit punch, divided
½ cup vanilla yogurt
Sprinkle gelatin over 1¼ cup fruit punch in small saucepan and let stand 1 minute. Stir over low heat until gelatin completely dissolves, about 2 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes.
Mix ½ cup gelatin mixture with yogurt, and pour at an angle into parfait glasses. Rest parfait glasses in a loaf pan or similar container so they remain tilted. Refrigerate until set but not firm (approx. 1½ hours).
Meanwhile, stir remaining ½ cup fruit punch into gelatin mixture and let stand at room temperature until ready to use. Once set, stand glasses upright and fill with remaining mixture. Return to the refrigerator to set until firm (approx. 1 hour).
Whip it, pour it (into ladyfinger-lined mold)
Last up, I made an Orange Charlotte for this week's Showcase Sunday. What is a Charlotte? A fairly old dessert (dating back to the early 19th century) that involves pouring some sort of custard into a mold lined with ladyfingers (or strips of stale cake, or bread, or whatever you got). The 1930's recipe booklet from Knox Gelatine features not one, but over 10 recipes for various Charlottes, but the only other recipe I have comes from a 1960's dessert cookbook, so they seem to have fallen out of favor in the US dessert scene...and I suspect I know why.
That's right, my first Controversial Opinion - ladyfingers are overrated. I know, I know. "Don't use packaged ones! Fresh ones are so much better!" Yes, because I love to make, pipe out, and bake a meringue as a Step Zero before I make a recipe. I brushed the packaged ones (imported all the way from Italy, a country still loyal to ladyfingers) with an orange syrup before molding, and while they make an attractive crust, biting into my first slice confirmed that I would much prefer good ol' graham crackers. (In fact, arguably the successor to the Charlotte, the Ice Box Cake, tends to rely on either graham crackers or "creme-filled chocolate sandwich cookies")
The orange-flavored Bavarian Cream filling somehow manages to be simultaneously incredibly light and airy, as well as incredibly heavy and filling (all that milkfat...), so I'm not sure how I feel about it honestly. It's possible I added too much cream (do you measure before or after whipping?) I also might be a little burnt out on orange flavors at this point. The only thing I do know is I won't be lining any future molds with ladyfingers, or as I deemed them, "dessert croutons", any time soon.
1 level tbsp Knox Sparkling Gelatine
¼ cup cold water
½ cup boiling water
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup orange juice
Whites of 3 eggs OR 1 pint whipped cream (Kelp used whipped cream)
Soak gelatine in cold water for about five minutes, then dissolve in boiling water. Add sugar, and when dissolved add lemon juice. Cool slightly, and add orange juice. When mixture begins to stiffen, beat, using a wire whisk, until light. Beat egg whites until stiff, then add to mixture, continuing to beat thoroughly. (One pint whipped cream may be used in place of eggs. Or use one cup whipped cream and two egg whites.) Turn into mold lined with ladyfingers. When firm, unmold. Garnish as desired. (Kelp tip: use a springform pan for easy unmolding)
Orange you glad this week is over? Next up, I challenge even more recipes from the 30's! Will I manage to successfully stiffly whip whites of eggs? Will I attempt to showcase a chaudfroid? Will I once again wrassle with my ice cream maker? I...haven't decided yet. Please spur me on as I make spur-of-the-moment dessert decisions.
Join us for Jelly July on July 24th-25th for virtual panels, contests, and a jelly-themed party! For more info, check out the Jelly July page and follow Bay Area Kei on social media for updates. If you're making your own jellied creations, be sure to use the hashtag #jellyjuly and tag @bayareakei! If you want to follow along Kelp's Jelly Journey, follow her on Instagram @itskelp.