Friday, 9 October 2009

Double Helpings of Desserts

They are not seasonal, it's true, but a lunch party seemed an excellent reason to use some of my frozen gooseberries. These were a gift from my mother - we planted two gooseberry bushes this year but the yield wasn't enough for excess to be frozen.

As the desserts needed to be dairy-free, and fairly light, as the rest of meal was quite substantial, I chose this recipe for Gooseberry and Elderflower Jelly from Delia Smith. Instead of wine I used a sparkling grape juice drink, as I knew several of my guests didn't drink alcohol.

It's a fairly simple recipe to follow; the only problem was that the amount of liquid for soaking the gelatine didn't seem enough - the powdered gelatine absorbed it all and still looked grainy, so I added enough to keep the gelatine loose enough to be stirrable. Most recipes use hot water to soak powdered gelatine, so that might have been a better option.

The jelly took ages to set - long enough to have me worrying that it wasn't going to set at all, but it did eventually. The resulting dessert was vey tasty and light, although there was no evidence that a sparkling drink had been used, probably due to the long setting time.

The second dessert was more seasonal - Blackberry and Apple Mousse - and again, was dairy-free. The recipe was adapted from a recipe for a Summer Fruit Mousse in a 'free from' cookery book I have, and uses coconut cream and soya cream, and some gelatine, instead of dairy cream, plus a couple of beaten egg whites to lighten the mixture a little. This dessert didn't produce the same clean flavour that the gooseberry dessert did; the creaminess seemed to dilute the flavour too much.

For 6 servings you need 500g of cooked fruit, sweetened with 100g sugar (or to taste) . While this is hot, add 2 tablespoons of powdered gelatine soaked in 3 tablespoons very hot water, then sieve or purée, depending on whether there are pips to remove. When cool, and just showing signs of setting, stir in a 160ml tin of coconut cream and a 250ml carton of soya cream. Then beat 2 egg whites until stiff and fold into the mixture. Spoon into individual glasses, or a large bowl. The recipe suggested decorating with frosted fresh fruit - dipped in lightly beaten egg white then caster sugar.

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