Apple and raspberry jellies

The desire to create spring-like puddings always takes hold of me in March.  I long for pretty, fresh-flavoured dishes that hint at the blowsy spring days to come, such as intensely flavoured wobbly fruit jellies. 

However, you have to allow time to make such dishes as your simmered apple, rhubarb or frozen summer berries must be left overnight to drip through a jelly bag. You will be rewarded with an exquisitely flavoured jelly.


Notes on jelly bags

You need a jelly bag for this recipe. Most kitchen shops such as John Lewis sell them on line, complete with a simple stand to suspend the bag over a bowl.

When I was a child, we used to place a large double square of muslin in a bowl or sieve. Our chosen cooked fruit was then added and the muslin gathered up and tied with string. My mother would hang it from an old roasting hook that projected out from the kitchen chimney and leave it to drip into a large bowl that she placed on a chair below.  The longer the dripping distance, the greater the splash.

Years later, I would suspend my improvised jelly bags from a broom handle balanced precariously between two stools. Thank goodness for modern design!

Makes 6 x 125ml jellies

1kg Bramley cooking apples

juice of 1 lemon

75g caster sugar

8g leaf gelatine

125g raspberries

 

1 Cut away any bruised areas from the unpeeled apples.  Roughly dice and place in a non-corrosive saucepan, pips and all.  Mix in the lemon juice and 125ml cold water. 

2  Cover and set over a low heat until the apples slowly begin to soften and collapse.  Stir regularly and if they start to stick to the bottom of the pan, add a little more water.

Simmer gently for about an hour or until all the fruit has softened into a fluffy puree. 

3  Set a jelly bag over a large china bowl.  Carefully tip the cooked fruit into the jelly bag and leave overnight to drip. 

4  The next morning measure the strained apple juice.  It should come to about 400ml juice.  Place 75g sugar in a bowl, add 150ml boiling water and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Mix into the apple juice.  Double check the sweetness is to your taste.

5  Place the gelatine in a bowl, cover with cold water and soak for 5 minutes.  Drain and squeeze the gelatine to remove excess water.  Return to the bowl and cover with 4 tablespoons boiling water.  Stir until the gelatine has dissolved.  If you feel you need a little extra sugar, add it to the hot gelatine liquid and stir until it has melted. 

6  Slowly stir the cool sweetened apple juice into the warm gelatine.  Donít add too quickly or it will form lumps.  Once all the apple juice has been added, transfer to a jug. 

7  Choose six pretty 125ml serving glasses.  Place 3 raspberries in each glass, then add just enough apple jelly to cover the raspberries.  Place the glasses in the fridge and chill for an hour or until they just set. Donít refrigerate the jug of apple jelly. Once the jellies have set, add some more raspberries to each glass and cover with the remaining jelly.  Chill for 3 hours or until set. 

8 If you happen to live near some flowering blackthorn, garnish each jelly with a few almond-scented blackthorn flowers.  Serve with double cream.

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