S. Worthen (owlfish) wrote,
S. Worthen

IMBB: Tea Jelly (Jello)

I haven't participated in an IMBB for a number of months, but musing on tea inspired my first adventures with gelatin, itself a recent IMBB theme. My idea seemed straightforward: take a variety of herbal teas, set them with gelatin, cut them up into tidy little pieces, and make a small, stained-glass-window style salad of colored cubes in a small glass or bowl.

Note: In what follows, I use the terms "jelly" and "jello" interchangably. I know jello is a brand name, but I don't know what else to call the resulting subtance in North America. In the UK, jello is known as jelly.

two or more teas or infusions of choice
gelatin packets

Short version of recipe
Brew tea. Combine with gelatin and stir until gelatin is thoroughly dissolved, approximately 1 Tbsp gelatin per pint of liquid. Allow to cool, then refridgerate until set. Cut into small cubes and pile into a tablespoon's worth of tea-flavored jello salad.

If I were less of a gelatin novice, I might have succeeded in doing just as I planned. I brewed bowlfuls of three Twinings herbal teas, lemon ginger (a favorite of mine), Pear & Guava, and Pink Grapefruit, Mandarin, & Lime. The first one was pale yellow, but the second two were both rosehip-stained purpled reds. Why are rosehips used so excessively in herbal teas? There are so many other wonderful ingredients in the world, and the flavor of rosehips inevitably overpowers the rest of the concoction.

I mixed in the gelatin packets according to direction, with liquid quantities approximated. I spooned the resulting liquids into a variety of containers, hoping that at least some would unmold nicely. After half an hour of cooling on the counter, I left them all in the fridge for several hours to set. Two of the three teas set quite firmly; the other was a little too loose for my intentions. Still, I felt that was respectable for a gelatin novice.

But none of the jellies unmolded. I don't know what the right container is, but I used a selection of wrong ones, including a silpat mini-muffin tray, a regular muffin tray, and a glass bowl. So much for nice, tidy slices of jelly. Instead, I spooned out slivers, slicing them up into the size of jelly-gems I was aiming at. They almost look like sashimi.

And then spooned a few of the pieces into a shot glass, to see how the dish might have turned out.

The jellies are intense - since I let the teas brew more than five minutes - so are best in small quantites. A spoonful of them would make a good amuse bouche for a sweeter course; a real fruit salad would be a good followup to an artificial infusion-based one.

Since I had so much jellied tea on my hands, I tried it a number of other ways - sweetened with brown sugar, "mulled" with a sprinkling of ground cinnamon and cloves on top. To my surprise, the brown sugar turns to liquid rather quickly when sprinkled onto the set jellies.

Tags: food, food event, imbb
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