Gelatine

Gelatine

By
From
A Year In My Kitchen

l love the pure, palate-cleansing desserts that gelatine enables me to produce. Citrusy fruit jellies and panna cottas, for example, taste wonderfully light and fresh – the perfect finish to a meal. I prefer to work with leaf gelatine as it lends a beautiful texture and is very satisfactory to work with. Delicatessens and some supermarkets stock it, though I concede it is a lot easier to get hold of powdered gelatine in this country. Use whichever you prefer.

Desserts made with gelatine will continue to firm up the longer they stay in the fridge, so don’t leave them in too long: 2–3 hours seems to me to be the ideal setting time. When you serve them, panna cottas and jellies should be wibbly wobbly, not overly firm.

Using leaf gelatine

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
see method for ingredients

Method

  1. Leaf gelatines vary significantly in strength, so be guided by the packet instructions, regardless of what your recipe may indicate. As a rough guide, you need to allow about 4 sheets of leaf gelatine per 500–600ml liquid.
  2. Soak gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water for about 5 minutes to soften before using them. Remove and squeeze out excess water before adding to a mixture.
  3. Always add gelatine to hot (but never boiling) liquid, not the other way round, and stir to ensure it dissolves completely.
  4. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve before pouring into moulds and allow to cool completely before placing in the fridge to set. Keep covered with cling film in the fridge, to ensure that the taste remains pure.

Using powdered gelatine

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
see method for ingredients

Method

  1. The same basic guidelines apply. To dissolve, sprinkle powdered gelatine into hot liquid, stirring to dissolve. Powdered gelatine dissolves more easily if it is first softened in cold water and recipes often suggest you do this. Simply put about 4–5 tbsp cold water in a bowl, sprinkle on the gelatine and leave to soften and become spongy for 5 minutes or so.
  2. In general, one 11g sachet sets 500–600ml liquid, but you should follow the packet instructions as not all brands are the same.

Turning out a dessert

  • To unmould a gelatine-set dessert, briefly dip the base of the mould in hot water, making sure it only comes halfway up the side. Invert a plate on top, then hold the plate and mould firmly together and turn over, to unmould the panna cotta or jelly on to the plate. Serve straight away.
Tags:
seasonal
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