25 August 2007

Blancmanger avec Gelée des Fraises

(Almond and Strawberry Jelly) I know I've done something similar before (major thanks to Clement of A la Cuisine!, one of the first food blogs I've ever seen), but the appeal of a beautifully layered gelatin dessert can't be beat. That, and the fact that feeding people cake and pie one after the other will no doubt make them sick. Better introduce something refreshing and with only minimal fat. Also, for some reason we have boxes and boxes of Jell-O brand strawberry gelatin. Better use it in something, I thought, since they're there! And making real strawberry gelatin requires quarts of strawberries that will drain me of all my money. Alternatively you could use bottled strawberry, pomegranate, cherry, or cranberry juice; those obviously have less sugar. (Instructions follow)
Almond and Strawberry Jelly
Sprinkle 2-1/4 tsp powdered gelatin on the surface of 1-1/2 cups (375g) skim, low-fat, or whole milk in a microwave-safe bowl. I didn't add any more sugar since the strawberry gelatin is plenty sweet. Wait for 5 minutes, then microwave on HIGH for 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until the gelatinous lumps are very few. Don't let it come to a boil; if it gets very hot, let it rest at room temperature before continuing to microwave. Strain the resulting mixture using a fine sieve to get rid of the last of the undissolved gelatin bits. Stir in 2 teaspoons almond extract and let cool to room temperature.

Prepare the strawberry gelatin using half the required amount of water. I used boiling water. Let it cool down at room temperature.

In a 5.5"x2.75"x1.75" (mini) ungreased nonreactive (preferably coated nonstick or stainless steel) loaf pan, pour a 3/8" layer of the almond mixture, which will be about less than 1/3 of the mixture. Use a spoon to pour and pour patiently from close to the bottom of the pan to avoid bubbles and splashes. Place inside the refrigerator in the main compartment as far away from the door to avoid agitation each time the door is opened. Chill for 25-30 minutes. The surface of the blancmanger should be sticky and will only bulge in the center slightly when the pan is tilted. If the surface is not sticky, the gel has set too long and when unmolded the layers will slip apart. Using a spoon, pour slightly less than 1/4 cup of the strawberry mixture on top (make sure it's no longer hot!), making sure not to create bubbles or disturb the layer below. Chill for 25-30 minutes. Repeat slightly less than half the remaining almond mixture, then slightly more than 1/4 cup of the strawberry mixture, then the rest of the almond mixture. Chill a few hours or overnight to hard-set. You'll have quite a lot of strawberry jelly remaining. Ladle into individual cups and eat at your pleasure.

To unmold, dip till just under the rim of the loaf pan in hot tap water for 10 seconds, then place a moist serving platter on top and flip the whole set-up over. Clean the surface with a wet finger. Place in the refrigerator till serving time.

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