Deconstructed Gelled Chai

Friday, January 27, 2006

gelled chaiI was struck by a bolt of inspiration in the department of dessert making. In fact, I still have this lightening strike up in my current inspiration window- a magnificent jello monster that uses all the colors of the rainbow in combination with a creamed layer in between each.

It is stunning, and makes me culinarily envious! I considered remaking this rainbow dome for Sam’s Sugar Low Friday. I even stood in front of the Jello section of the grocery store, yet I couldn’t bring myself to it. I’ve never really liked Jello, and that fact kept rearing its head when I considered dumping every Jello product that exists into my basket.

So I bought unflavored gelatin and made my own wiggly stuff, with out all the neon flashiness. Sigh

gelled chaiThe basic formula for using gelatin is 1 packet per cup of liquid. The procedure is to first bloom the powdered gelatin in 1/4 of your total liquid. This blooming step happens in cold liquid. Then heat up the remaining 3/4 of your liquid to boiling and pour over the blooming gelatin and thoroughly mix to dissolve the gelatin. Pour into your desired container and refrigerate to yield a wiggly squirming mass of solid liquid.

I decided to settle my gelatin play with a favorite drink of mine, Almond Nectar, which uses dates for a note of sweetness. This is a nice sweet milky liquid that I recreated when my favorite local juice company stopped manufacturing their own Almond Nectar. To offset the milky layer with a less opaque layer I decided to play with tea and settled on making chai.

For the gelled creamy layer I added a tablespoon of maple syrup to the almond nectar, and omitted the coffee. For the gelled chai, I made up a slightly stronger strength batch of tea and added just a tablespoon of honey for sweetness.

The resulting layers are an interesting taste play on the tongue. The gelatin seems to isolate the flavors and sweetness from my taste buds, leaving your mouth to contemplate the odd consistency of gelatin. The subtle sweetness and spice of the tea come out to play once you squish it up and it melts onto your tongue.

If you like jello, this dessert is for you. On the otherhand, if you’re like me and not so keen on the stuff being in your mouth… I’d stick to keeping it in liquid form.

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posted January 27th, 2006 at 8:38 pm

Yours is way better! Looks like real food. (Though that neon thing is pretty amazing.)

posted January 27th, 2006 at 11:16 pm

I agree with CC! The other ‘thing’ looks a bit poisonous and I bet your combination tastes better!

- ilva
posted January 28th, 2006 at 12:17 am

It looks so impressive! :)

- Anne
posted January 28th, 2006 at 2:17 pm

Tis a thing of beauty! Who needs sugar anyway??? (Ok maybe on the other days of the week …)

- Ivonne
posted January 29th, 2006 at 5:13 pm

It looks gorgeous! Gelatin can be odd to work with, sometimes it seems as if you do lose flavor, even though logically you shouldn’t. Perhaps this is why they make Jell-O so over sweet. Anyway, lovely, subtle dessert. Bravo!

- Elise
posted January 30th, 2006 at 9:44 am

SOmething like this might actually help be get over my jell-o phobia. Looks great!

posted January 31st, 2006 at 6:48 am

It looks so beautiful. I have some gelatin in the cupboard and i think i am going to have to have a little play with it.

- sam

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