It’s still the height of the British Strawberry season, so you might have some Strawberries that look better than others. This summer dessert finds a home for both the firm fresh ones and the few that have been kicking about in the fridge for a week. Making fresh jelly really isn’t difficult and it tastes a world apart from those thick cubes from the supermarket. It does take a while to set, though, so make it the day before you need it, just to be safe.
juice of a lemon
10 gelatine sheets
1litre cold water
Handful of blackcurrants
Put 100g of the strawberries to one side for later on and thickly slice the rest.
Put the sliced strawberries into a large pan with the water and sugar and slowly heat up. Do not allow to reach a rolling boil, the idea here is to slowly infuse the water with strawberryness to produce a nectar, I didn’t want to break up the strawberries like you would if making a jam.
I wanted to slightly darken my jelly, so added a handful of chopped blackcurrants (not that I’d just picked this year’s crop or anything..).
Stir it as necessary and leave to slowly cook for about an hour.
When your nectar is ready, pour it out of the pan into a measuring jug so you know exactly how much you’ve got. Follow the directions on the packet of the gelatine, a ‘normal’ set for the size of sheets I used is 5 sheets per pint of liquid. I had 1200ml of nectar and strawberries so 10 sheets is about right. If you wanted a looser set and didn’t mind it taking all night, then you could get away with slightly less, but no less than 8 1/2 or it’ll never set.
Preparing fresh gelatine, provided you don’t think about where it comes from, is pretty straightforward. Use kitchen scissors to cut it up into little shards so it’s easier to stir, put it into a flat bowl and add three tablespoons (45ml) of cold water. make sure it’s covered. Then put the bowl over a bain marie to gently melt the gelatine. You’ve already got a jug full of cooling strawberry nectar, so I’d suggest using that as a source of steam. It takes a few minutes to melt.
Whilst that’s melting, cut up the remaining 100g of Strawberries across the grain so their faces look attractive. Put the fresh strawberries into the moulds such that the faces will be upwards on the plate. I used glasses so put them in afterwards facing upwards, if your moulds need turning out then place them at the bottom facing downwards.
Stir the lemon juice and gelatine into the strawberry nectar and pour it out into your moulds. I used some individual glasses and did a job lot in some tupperware so I can have jelly all week.
Put it in the fridge and let it set. Mine took overnight before it would stand up to gravity.
If your moulds aren’t for serving directly, there’s a little trick to make the jelly just slip out of the moulds. Get a bowl of boiling water and briefly put the moulds into it so the jelly just round the outside melts just enough to become slippy.
Serve with clotted cream and a couple of leaves of fresh mint.