A few weeks back I visited the leading port house Quinta do Noval in the Douro region of Portugal. And while I was tasting some of their heavenly vintages, I started to think of ways that I could incorporate some of them into a pudding.
I was particularly impressed with Noval Black, a seductively deep, raisiny and spicy vintage. It costs £14.99 and will be starting to appear in specialist outlets in the UK over the next few months (for stockists, telephone 01707 274790). I have used it with white port to make this eye-catching, two-tier effect jelly. If you want more of an alcoholic kick, just add more port and cut back on the sugar and syrup.
170g granulated sugar
5 leaves of gelatine
100ml white port
100ml Noval black or ruby port
Bring the water and sugar to the boil and stir until the sugar has dissolved, then remove from the heat.
Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for a few minutes and then squeeze out the water and stir into the hot sugar syrup until dissolved. Leave the mixture to cool but do not let it set.
Divide the sugar syrup in half, add the white port to one and the Noval black port to the other.
Pour the white port jelly into moulds, such as small pudding basins or cups, and refrigerate until they are set. Then pour the black jelly on top and return to the fridge to set.
To serve, dip the jellies briefly into boiling water and then turn them out on to dessert plates. Serve with a spoonful of thick Jersey cream.