Chamomile jelly with cherries

This recipe comes from my book Citrus and Spice .   When mentally searching for floral flavours, it is worth drawing on tisanes and teas for inspiration.   The delicate citrus notes in a chamomile tisane, for example, are perfect for light flavoured jellies, sorbets and fruit dressings.   Those lucky enough to have the highly scented German chamomile Matricaria recutita in their garden can use the fresh flowers in place of dried.  

Serves 4

2 organic lemons

7 organic chamomile infusion tea bags

170g caster sugar

12g sheet gelatine or (11.7g sachet) 4 tsp powdered gelatine

350g cherries


Finely pare the lemon zest with a potato peeler and divide between 2 small saucepans.   Add 500ml water to the first pan and 200ml to the second.   Bring both up to the boil and cook both briskly for 3 minutes, then remove from the heat and add 4 chamomile tea bags to the 500ml water and 3 chamomile bags to the 200ml water.   Leave both to infuse for 5 minutes.


As soon as the 200ml water has infused for 5 minutes, strain into a mixing bowl and mix in the 55g caster sugar. Stir until dissolved, then add 2 tablespoons lemon juice.


While the 500ml water is infusing, soak the leaf gelatine in cold water for 5 minutes.   Drain off the water and strain on the 500ml hot chamomile water. Squeeze any excess liquid from the tea bags.   Stir until the gelatine has dissolved.   If using powdered gelatine, sprinkle the gelatine over about half of the 500ml hot chamomile water.   Leave to soak for 5 minutes then set over a low heat and stir occasionally until dissolved.   Mix into the remaining 250ml chamomile water.  


Add 115g caster sugar to the 500ml chamomile water.   Stir until it has dissolved, add the juice from one lemon and divide between 4 x 150ml jelly containers or pour into a pretty bowl.   Cover and chill until set.

Halve and stone the cherries, dropping them into the 200ml sweetened chamomile water as you do so.   Set aside until you’re ready to serve the jelly.   This is very pretty garnished with fresh chamomile flowers.   Serve with runny double cream to add a wonderful creamy summer note.


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