Jelly July Journal - Ready, set, unmold!
Hi everyone, Kelp here, with the first weekly round-up of my Jelly July Journal~
Throughout the month, I'll be making various gelatin-based dishes from vintage cookbooks and posting the results on my Instagram (@itskelp) -- plus, every week I'll chat a little bit about my tips and tricks (as well as my trials and tribulations...) for tackling the recipes below.
Cherry Cola Parfait
Who doesn't love a parfait? There's no shortage of recipes that involve a tall glass of artfully arranged gelatin, whether it be layered, flaked, or cubed, as shown here.
The informal theme for this week was Red, White, and Blue, and the incorporation of "carbonated cola beverage" made this particular recipe stand out. Have you ever boiled soda in a saucepan? It's an experience...in fact, I was so entranced by the process, I made a note of other recipes that make the same substitution!
1¼ cups cola beverage
1 6-oz. package of cherry-flavored gelatin
Whipped topping of your choice
Boil cola and stir into gelatin in large bowl until completely dissolved. Pour into rectangular pan to about ½-inch in depth. Refrigerate until firm (~3 hours). Dip bottom of pan in warm water for about 15 seconds to loosen gelatin. Cut into ½-inch cubes.
Alternate layers of gelatin cubes and whipped topping. Garnish as desired. Makes approximately 3 parfaits.
It's been a particularly hot summer for those of us on the West Coast, so I wanted to dedicate a day to frozen treats: Freezy Friday!
This recipe for fruit pops caught my eye due to the many listed variations, including one that uses sweet tea. Instead of making full-sized popsicles, I used a silicone star-shaped ice cube mold. These mini-pops can easily double as a fun addition to a fancy drink or as a colorful garnish for another frozen treat.
1 cup boiling water
1 3-oz. package flavored gelatin
⅓ cup sugar
1⅓ cups cold juice, any flavor
Stir boiling water into gelatin and sugar until completely dissolved. Stir in cold juice. Pour into molds. If inserting popsicle sticks, freeze until almost firm, insert stick, and continue to freeze firm.
Replace juice with ⅔ cup cold water and ⅔ cup pureed fruit
Use iced tea, soda, or other beverages instead of juice
Red, White, & Blue Mold
Gelatin desserts have long been advertised as a way to impress your guests, but just how difficult is it to unmold a masterpiece? That's what I hope to find out on Showcase Sundays, where I attempt what one vintage gelatin cookbook deems "Super Desserts". Given it was the 4th of July, it was fairly straightforward to decide on this recipe, which was my first ever attempt at a layered mold. I actually had two recipes for this dessert -- one cleverly used frozen fruit to help quick-set the gelatin, but was written prior to the release of Jell-O™'s Berry Blue flavor, which meant it was more of a Red, White, and Dark Purple mold...the other had very precise timing (down to the minute) of when each layer would be "set, but not firm", but I found the recipe amounts needed some serious adjustments (the layers were supposed to be the same thickness, but as you can see, the blue is barely there).
Kelp's Tip for Layered Molds
It's recommended that a layer be "set, but not firm" before adding the next; if a layer fully sets, it may not fully adhere and cause issues when unmolding. A good test is to touch the surface of the gelatin - it should still stick to your finger as you pull away.
Straight-sided molds will yield predictable layers, but other molds, like the Bundt pan I used above, will require different volumes of gelatin for even layers.
Galaxy brain strategy: use a clear glass mold. This not only allows you to check your layers, but also lets you leave your dessert in the mold for easy transport, wow factor intact.
If incorporating fruit, recipes will call for gelatin to be 'thickened', so fruit does not float or sink once poured. However, thickened gelatin can very quickly become globby and difficult to layer cleanly, especially once fruit is folded in. For more precise layering, reserve some gelatin before thickening. Once gelatin thickens, pour thin layer into mold, then arrange fruit on top. Pour remaining thickened gelatin and re-arrange fruit if needed. Then, top off layer with reserved, unthickened gelatin for a smooth finish.
2¾ cups boiling water
1 package (3-oz.) each of color-contrasting flavored gelatins (e.g., red and blue)
1 package (3-oz.) lemon flavored gelatin (for white layer)
1 cup cold water
~1 pint vanilla ice cream, softened
~1 cup sliced strawberries (optional)
~1 cup blueberries (optional)
Stir 1 cup of boiling water into the first (red) gelatin until completely dissolved. Then stir in ½ cup cold water. Thicken gelatin (by refrigerating or stirring over ice-water bath) and stir in strawberries (or whichever fruit). Pour into mold. Refrigerate until set, but not firm.
Next, stir ¾ cup boiling water into lemon gelatin until completely dissolved. Spoon in ice cream and stir until melted and smooth. Spoon gelatin mixture over red gelatin layer in pan. Refrigerate until set, but not firm.
Last, stir 1 cup of boiling water into final (blue) gelatin until completely dissolved. Then stir in ½ cup cold water. Thicken gelatin and stir in blueberries. Spoon over lemon gelatin layer in pan. Refrigerate until firm (~ 4 hours). Unmold. Garnish as desired.
Orange you wondering what's next on my Jelly Journey? Check back next week for some sweet and savory servings of citrus🍊
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.