Sunday, 11 August 2013

Strawberry Jelly

I'm going to start this post immediately with an apology for the even more terrible than usual photography and for the half recipe. You see, this initially started off as a strawberry jelly cheesecake recipe but it went rather wrong which I will soon get to. The jelly part worked really well though so despite my disappointment and shame at the collapse of the original idea, I'm super pleased that I've made fresh jelly which I have never done before and to make it even more super, it is made with one of the two best foods created of all time - strawberries! (The other is chocolate by the way. Statement of the blindingly obvious I know.)

Jelly is one of those foods that I've thought for a long time would be really cool to make and it turned out to be really easy too, though time consuming. Most of that though was waiting around so it would be ideal to do around other things, slotting the little individual stages in between other jobs. I went searching the Internet for a recipe that I could use without fiddling with it buuuuuuut that didn't work out. None of them made me go 'Yes! That's it!' So I did a very stupid thing considering what I was making for the first time something that could literally turn into a puddle when I took it out of the mould. I combined recipes. I didn't have a clue whether they would all mash together well enough but thankfully it was a worthy gamble and I got something that tasted lovely without the guilt of ingesting a pile of artificial stuff. Credit where it's due, my inspiration came from the BBC Food website and the Great British Chefs website as well as a post on which doesn't seem to want to let me link to it.

Despite the embarrassment I'm still going to enter this into the Tea Time Treats challenge, the creation of Kate at What Kate Baked and Karen at Lavender and Loveage. This month Kate is hosting and the theme is Ice Creams, Jellie and Chilled Desserts. Even if everyone who sees my entry thinks I have been very silly then at least I might have given you all a laugh!

So, time for the true confession. The strawberry jelly cheesecake, which I still think was a wonderful idea if only my execution of it had kept up, was an adaptation of one from Jamie Oliver's Ministry of Food which I have been doing for a few years now. It's very popular in this house but this year I wanted to try something different. It should have been the usual biscuit base with a wibbly wobbly layer of fresh jelly on top before the favoured cheesecake filling, finished off with strawberry sauce/compote/whatever you want to call it. With all honesty, that is what we got, albeit only for a few seconds before the layers slid apart which would have been hilarious if I hadn't had such high hopes for it. No worries though. I was terribly British about it and kept calm and carried on. I ate it that is. While thinking of ways to improve, my dad suggested a biscuit base with sides instead of just a flat base which I thought was a super idea though on the retry I'll be adding a lot more biscuits because I like the thick base. And I'd make it earlier in the day so it has longer in the fridge because on the second day it held itself together. For now though here is a gorgeously summer recipe for strawberry jelly. It would go so well with vanilla ice cream. Or maybe even whipped cream. With, oh I don't know, extra strawberries on top?

500g fresh strawberries, destalked weight
5 leaves gelatine 
275ml water
150g caster sugar

The full lot of ingredients. It didn't seem ambitious at the time!

Once you've got the correct weight of destalked strawberries, rinse and slice them. Try not to eat too many. Yes, that is thee punnets worth you can see in the picture just for one recipe. Some for the jelly, some for the sauce, some for me!

Puree the strawberries in a blender and set aside while you prepare the next bit. Put the sugar and water in a pan over a medium-low heat until the sugar is dissolved then turn up the heat, bring to the boil and maintain a slow boil for 5 mins. Remove from the heat and let cool for a short while then mix in with the pureed strawberries. It doesn't look too exciting at this stage. Somwhat like strawberry soup. Which I know tasted rather nice because, well, I tried a spoonful or three.

Cover the bowl with a plate and leave for at least 30 mins to infuse. Pour the soup into a sieve held over a bowl an let the liquid drip through. You might have to add it in batches if your sieve is too small.
This is an important bit. Don't force the stuff in the sieve through. Let it drip at its own pace. All you'll end up doing is getting bits in your jelly and it is supposed to make it go cloudy. I wasn't tempted to test the hypothesis. At most you can, a couple of times during the process, empty the sieve into another bowl, clean the mush from it, dry it and put the remaining soup back into it to drip again. Once you are bored of waiting for all the liquid to drip through, pour the liquid into a bowl to see how much you have. I got this much:

Save the remaining pulp and mix with other fruit to make a filling for something. I crushed it along with more chopped strawberries to make the finishing fruit sauce for the cheesecake. I think it would go well in a crumble or pie though.
The instructions on my leaf gelatine said that 4 leaves sets one pint of liquid or use 5 for a firmer set. I used 5 leaves, partly because there was 5 left in the packet and partly because I hoped a firmer set would support the cheesecake bit better. 

Cut the gelatine leaves into small pieces and soak in a few tbsp water or straberry liquid for 10 mins. To dissolve fully, place the bowl over a pan of steaming water and stir to dissolve. Really make sure this bit is completed because I can tell you from experience that it isn't nice when you bite into a lump of undissolved gelatine. When it's done, stir into the rest of the juice and pour into whatever container you choose. An old fashioned jelly mould would look brilliant or a silicone one to make pretty shapes. Or even a trifle dish. Now I've made jelly from scratch I really want to make a trifle entirely from scratch. Though I should probably practise making custard first. 
Put the jelly containers into the fridge to set. This may take a while depending on whether you have kept it all in one or not but please perservere. It really is lovely. Once I have had another attempt at my cheesecake idea then I'll post that but for now I hope you enjoy this.

Happy jelly fun time!


  1. I've never made jelly from scratch either! I love strawberries and I really like the sound of a strawberry jelly cheesecake. Strawberry jelly looks good too :)

    1. Thank you =) you've made me more determined to make a correct version of the strawberry jelly cheesecake now!

  2. I'm sorry it didn't work out as intended but I've no doubt it still tasted delicious, not least with the glorious fresh homemade strawberry jelly! Thank you for your entry to TTT!

    1. It was still really fun to enter, even if my idea didn't turn out quite right. Like you say, it still tasted really nice and I'm looking forward to when I tackle attempt two =)

  3. You poor thing - sounds like it was delicious though, and another excuse to try again!

    1. Definitely, I think I might have missed my chance for attempt two this year but I'll be thinking of it all the time until I can try again. Then I might be able to make it look and taste good!


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