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Esurientes - The Comfort Zone

Monday, May 23, 2005

IMBB: Cranberry & Port Wine Jelly with Cream

I only recently discovered how easy it is to use gelatine. It was always something I imagined was reserved for 'serious' chefs creating mousseline scuptures of angels playing lutes and things. But I noticed quite a few of the British chefs including jelly recipes in their books and was intrigued. So far, I've made Nigel Slaters Orange & Cardamom jelly for a previous Sugar High Friday and a lime & coconut jelly of my own creation. They're such a doddle to make, and I hope to create many more. I'm keen to try Nigella's gin & tonic jelly one day, but I'll need to save my pennies to afford that much gin in one dessert!
So, for this IMBB, holted by Elise from Simply Recipes, I knew what I was going to make. This jelly is an idea I found in the Jill Dupleix Very Simple Food, which has jumped out at me every time I've looked at the book. Cranberry juice, sugar, gelatine and a sploosh of port - what could be simpler?
I reduced the amount of gelatine she specifies as I like my jelly softly set and too fragile to turn out. It should shimmer on the spoon and you should be able to suck it through your teeth. :-) I used powdered gelatine, which is not recommended by many chefs, but I haven't found any problems using it. Works fine for me. One sachet sets 500ml, so I found one sachet worked well for this larger scale recipe.
I really loved the taste of this. The tartness of the cranberry juice is tempered by the rich sweetness of the port. We have a very good, very old port in the house which I used, and I think I could have cut down a little on the port, as the taste was strong. But if you have normal household port, the combo should be perfect. I don't think it's a true 'alcoholic' jelly, as you boil up the juice and port beforehand, which probably burns off the alcohol. Top it with some thin cream, to make it look pretty and provide a creamy counterpoint to the light fruity jelly - the cream is definitely a must! I reckon it'd be a perfect light dessert to have in summer sitting outside on a balmy night, so you Northern hemisphere-types are in luck!
Seriously, try this recipe; it's SO easy and SO elegantly effective. It seemed to be really popular with men, who enjoyed it while watching the Eurovision finals last night. :-)
Check out the roundup of all 63 entries on Elise's site.
Click on for the recipe:

Cranberry & Port Wine jelly with Cream
from Jill Dupleix's Very Simple Food

"This sparkling dessert jelly is made with easily obtainable cranberry juice. Add a splosh of port for those old enough to remember port wine jelly."
Serves 4-5

700ml cranberry juice
100g sugar (I used 70g, which was a better balance, I felt)
50ml port
4 sheets of leaf gelatine or 22g powdered gelatine (I used one sachet of 10g - which was perfect)
100ml single cream

In a saucepan, combine the cranberry juice, sugar and port. Heat slowly to just under the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove the pan from the heat.
Soak the leaf gelatine in cold water for 3 minutes until blobby, then squeeze out the excess water and whisk the gelatine into the hot cranberry liquid until melted. Or sprinkle the powdered gelatine directly over the hot liquid and leave for 1 minute, then whisk well.
Leave to cool, stirring occasionally. When cool, pour the cranberry liquid into four 150ml martini (or other) glasses or jelly moulds and chill in the fridge until set.
If set in glasses, trickle a little cream over the top of each jelly until you have a smooth cream 'frosting', then serve. If set in moulds, turn out onto plates and drizzle with the cream.


  • Yum! Very classy. And lovely pic too capturing the dying rays... of yet another Eurovision spectacular...

    By Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop), at 5/23/2005 02:11:00 pm  

  • Niki, that is just beautiful.

    I'm working on a Port jelly, as well...but having a heck of a time with it. The jelly-making gene seems to have skipped me.

    By Blogger Stephanie, at 5/23/2005 03:33:00 pm  

  • I like my jelly softly set, too, but often settle for something firmer because I've made several unset ones (particularly when dealing with flaked agar-agar). This sounds like a winning conbination, though, Niki.

    By Blogger Nic, at 5/23/2005 03:37:00 pm  

  • Believe me, it was thoroughly enjoyed by the women too :)


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/23/2005 03:51:00 pm  

  • hey niki this looks good! love the tropical pink!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/23/2005 09:35:00 pm  

  • Niki - this is gorgeous! I love cranberry juice, and the idea to have it complemented by a splash of port.

    By Blogger Elise, at 5/24/2005 06:24:00 am  

  • I am sure it is excellent. As we say in Portugal, anything with Port Wine tastes good. The picture is also very beautiful. I have a tendency to set me jellies to firm, but I'm curious to try cutting on the amount of gelatine and see if I like the result.

    By Blogger Ana, at 5/24/2005 07:13:00 am  

  • Nikki,

    I am just going to have to make up this recipe! I love Port Wine and I have been having a 'love affair' with Cottee's Port Wine Jelly since I was a toddler!

    Dad often sends me a packet of the jelly crystals now that I am living in the US or I buy them from one of the US based Australian online stores.

    I simply never thought of making my own Port Wine jelly. Reading your IMBB entry was well and truly a light bulb moment for me!

    Thanks for the inspiration!


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/24/2005 07:27:00 am  

  • Hi Nikki!
    My partner LOVES Port Wine Jelly, yay now I can make him the real thing. It looks gorgeous, well done!

    By Blogger eat stuff, at 5/24/2005 03:10:00 pm  

  • Hi everyone - it seems the port has hit a nerve with everyone! I grew up with port wine jelly - but the ones sold pre-flavoured in boxes. It was always my favourite flavour. Didn't taste a thing like port, of course, but was just nicer than all the rest.
    However, it pales in comparison with using the real thing in your own jelly. And it's so damn easy! If you do try it, let me know how you go!

    By Blogger Niki, at 5/25/2005 10:36:00 pm  

  • Oh wow! That sounds like an awesome idea. I mean if champagne and cranberry juice work well together, I can just imagine how well port and cranberry would play. Your photos are so gorgeous - all that SUN!!

    By Blogger Jeanne, at 5/26/2005 02:22:00 am  

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