As a kid I detested jelly; it probably didn’t help that my uncle Wayne used to call it shivery water. As with most things, though, you really should try it in its best form before you pass judgement. The colour of this blood plum and blackberry jelly is incredible, particularly when the light bounces off it at the table. This may be served in individual cups if you fear the consequences of attempting to turn the jelly out of a large mould. Our local antique store, The Drill Hall Emporium, has an amazing range of copper, glass and ceramic Victorian jelly moulds, which make a jelly dessert very special indeed. You’ll need to start this up to two days in advance.
The secret, I find, is to use real fruit juice as the base, and to use only enough gelatine to just set the jelly, so it dissolves as soon as it hits your mouth.
- 1.3 kg blood plums, stones removed, coarsely chopped
- 560 g blackberries
- 400 g sugar
- 9 gold-strength gelatine leaves
- 500 ml (2 cups) pouring cream
- 55 g (¼ cup) sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthways
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Draining time 3–4 hours or overnight
Chilling time overnight
Infusing time 30 minutes
Combine plums, blackberries, sugar and 2 litres water in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 30 minutes or until fruit is soft and pulpy. Pour into a muslin-lined sieve set over a large bowl and leave juice to drain through for 3–4 hours or overnight at room temperature.
Place gelatine leaves in a bowl and cover with cold water. Set aside for 5 minutes or until soft. Measure out 1.4 litres of the plum and blackberry juice and warm in a large saucepan over medium heat, but do not let it boil. Remove gelatine leaves, squeezing out any excess liquid, then add to saucepan and stir until dissolved. Pour mixture into a jelly mould or bowl and refrigerate overnight to set.
For vanilla cream, combine cream, sugar and vanilla bean in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat and set aside for 30 minutes to allow vanilla to infuse. Remove vanilla bean and scrape seeds into cream.
To unmould jelly, place mould in a bowl of warm water until edges just begin to dissolve. Quickly invert mould onto a serving plate and serve the jelly with a jug of vanilla cream.
Recipe and image from The Agrarian Kitchen, Rodney Dunn, with photography by Luke Burgess (Lantern, $59.99 hbk).