Sophie Dahl's Elderflower Jelly
I've always been intrigued with gelées like Sophie's; I've already posted three: one with port wine and fruit (a really old one from the 50's, served to us by a bachelor friend), one with passion fruit and a basil creme and another with prosecco and elderflower liqueur. I also remember posting something about the molds, which are so important with these simple, clear gelées. They have to be gorgeous. I wish I owned some prettier ones. I'm going to keep my eyes open at the antique malls. There are a few lovely old ones pictured in some older issues of Gourmet. Years ago, I scanned one table with two gelées...it was a summer tea. Would you look at the shape of those molds!
And then more recently, while researching Elena Arzak for our game-changer series, I came across Lorraine's post about the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, where she had taken two master classes. One was with Elena Arzak and the other with two young men named Harry Parr and Sam Bompas who were big into glamorous gelées. The photos gave me lots of gelée-making inspiration, but I thought I'd post this unpretentious one, perfect for a refreshing summer dessert.
I served it with sweetened whipped cream and a cookie. The recipe calls for elderflower cordial, but I used St. Germain elderflower liqueur, which I already had in my pantry.
The difference between cordials and liqueurs are 1) the items used to make them and 2) their flavor. Cordials are made from fruits. They are sweeter than liqueurs. Examples of cordials are Chambord, which is a black raspberry cordial, and Grand Marnier, which is an orange cordial. You can use them in fruity desserts and drinks. You could use either of these in this recipe.
Liqueurs are made from nuts, herbs, spices and/or seeds. You can use them in coffees, sweets and savory foods with complimentary tastes. Well-known liqueurs include Amaretto (made from almonds), Kahlua (coffee-flavored liqueur) and Jagermeister (made from herbs).
The St. Germain I used has a more robust flavor, but is not as sweet as an elderflower cordial, which is why I suggest serving it with a sweetened whipped cream, or you could add a bit of superfine sugar to the warm liquid. At any rate, you will need to taste as you want the mixture to be fairly strong and ever so slightly sweet. I added more liqueur than the recipe calls for; even Sophie suggested you might wish to do so.
From Miss Dahl's Voluptuous Delights by Sophie Dahl
2 envelopes Knox's unflavored gelatin (double check fluid to gelatin ratio if you add more liqueur; usually it's one envelope to every two cups liquid. Sophie's recipe called for 1 "packet", which may be a different quantity in Great Britain than 1 envelope. At any rate, this recipe required 2 envelopes, which yielded a gelatin that was soft, but held together nicely.)
1/2 cup hot water
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons elderflower cordial (I added at least another 1/4 cup more of the liqueur)
2 cups cold water
Add 1/2 cup cold water to the gelatin to soften and then heat on the stove until dissolved.
In another bowl, mix the the cordial with the 2 cups cold water (and superfine sugar if you wish; I didn't), tasting to make certain it is strong enough. You'll be able to tell. Add the gelatin and pour into a pretty mold. (I sprayed it with Pam first)
Place in refrigerator to set (a few hours or overnight), unmold by holding the mold in hot water for 10 seconds and then turn it out on a pretty cake dish.
Serve with sweetened whipped cream.