Strawberry and sparkling wine jelly
I've always been a jelly freak – and the fact that Bompas & Parr have just published their book, Jelly (Pavilion, £14,99), shows that the wobbly stuff is back in fashion. There is no end to what you can make and do with jellies, whatever the time of the year. Although this recipe isn't particularly cheap to make, it does produce a spectacular pudding. If you're going to the trouble of picking or buying wild strawberries, then it's worth splashing out on champagne or, better still, Nyetimber – the best sparkling wine produced in the UK.
Of course you can adapt the recipe, using perry or cider instead of sparkling wine, and a mixture of berries, such as raspberries, blueberries and small strawberries. For a non-alcoholic jelly, use elderflower cordial, diluted with water or apple juice.
12g leaf gelatine (4 sheets)
700ml fine-quality sparkling wine, such as Nyetimber or Chapel Down, or champagne
50g caster sugar
120g strawberries, hulled
Thick Jersey cream, to serve
Soak the leaf gelatine in a bowl of cold water for a few minutes to soften. Meanwhile, pour 200ml of the sparkling wine into a saucepan, add the sugar and bring to the boil over a medium-low heat, stirring occasionally to encourage the sugar to dissolve. Take off the heat.
Squeeze the gelatine leaves to remove excess water, then add to the wine syrup and stir until fully dissolved. Now stir in the rest of the sparkling wine. Leave to cool until barely warm, but don't allow the jelly to set.
Divide half of the strawberries between individual jelly moulds or attractive martini glasses, then carefully pour in half of the cooled jelly, ensuring the berries are evenly distributed. Place in the fridge for an hour or so until set. Keep the rest of the jelly at room temperature, making sure it does not set.
Once the refrigerated jellies have set, arrange the rest of the strawberries on top and pour on the rest of the jelly. (Setting the jelly in two stages allows the berries to stay suspended in the jelly so they don't float to the surface.) Return the jellies to the fridge to set.
To serve, briefly dip the pudding moulds, if using, in hot water, then invert on to serving plates and shake gently to turn out. Or set the martini glasses on plates. Serve with thick Jersey cream.
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