I had a lot of lemons in my kitchen, and needed to use some of the extras, after making yet another batch of lemon and mint herbal tea. I have a secret love of lemon jelly, homemade, of course. There is no comparison to that strange box of chemicals, which contains no real food, or flavours, except for the massive quantities of sugar and gelatin, of course.
Gelatin is actually a healthy food in itself, very good for softening wrinkles, and making nails and hair stronger. But it can taste fabulous, and be all round healthy, not to mention pro-biotic, if you make your jelly with real food!
This dessert for four takes about ten minutes to prepare if you already have the Kefir Cream, but at least 8 hours if you don’t. Once you keep Kefir cream on hand, you will have it forever, it is that good.
Once I needed a great deal of Crème Fraiche, otherwise known as English Cream. I needed enough for 160 servings. Buying it would have been prohibitive, so I dreamed up this idea. My stuff is thick and sweet. Once it’s made and well chilled, you can also sweeten it a bit and then whip it just like cream. But for this recipe, we’ll just use it out of the jar.
|I wound up eating half the entire jelly, I confess.|
Here we go to make the Kefir Creme. So easy. Pour 35% heavy cream into a clean jar. The first time I did it, I used an entire quart, and added about a cup of Kefir. That was for the 160 servings.
For my own benefit, I poured less than a cup of cream into a jar, and added a couple of tablespoons of dairy Kefir already on hand.
The jar needs to be lightly covered (cloth and an elastic band) and left on the counter till it’s thick,
which is approximately eight hours. Remove the cloth and put the regular lid back on and refrigerate. Once you have it, use an amount, then top up the jar with more fresh heavy cream. Stir well, and let sit on counter for 6 or so hours, lightly covered, then properly cover and refrigerate. Perpetually!
Now for the jelly:
1 packet gelatin (1 tablespoon)
½ cup boiling water
1 ½ or 2 whole lemons
1 heaping tablespoon honey
More boiling water
1 tablespoon vanilla (or more)
½ teaspoon dried rose petals
2 tablespoons Kefir Crème
Gelatin comes in boxes containing a number of packets, each packet containing a tablespoon of gelatin granules, in North America. I know you can get it in sheets as well, which I own, but the directions are in German. I understand that the sheet gelatin makes a more transparent jelly, so one day I will get my German directions properly translated. Till then, my jelly will be a little cloudy.
A packet requires 2 cups of liquid. Hence the vagueness of some of my amounts, above. First, pour ½ cup of boiling water into a shallow bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin granules onto the water. Set aside for about ten minutes.
|This nifty tool makes perfect zest.|
A lemon zester is a wonderful object, but if you don’t have one, scrape just the outer layer of yellow peel, then slice those scrapes into very thin strips. I adore lemon zest, so I used the zest from one and a half lemons. You may use less. Sprinkle the zest into the gelatin water. By the time my zesting was done, ten minutes had passed, so I stirred to incorporate the gelatin and zest into the water. If you get the feeling the granules still aren’t completely dissolved, have patience. The next steps will do the trick.
Juice at least one and a half lemons. Measure the juice and add more boiling water till you have a full cup of water. I needed to nuke my honey for about five seconds, but if yours is runny, add it to the lemon water. Taste. At this point, your gelatin still needs another ½ cup of water. If you think it needs more lemon juice, measure that out, and more water if it’s too sour. Don’t fill to the top though, because you still need to add vanilla to that cup.
|Taste and measure carefully!|
Making jelly is a mathematical endeavor. One packet needs two cups of liquid. Proportions will vary, according to your taste, but I used just one and a half lemon’s worth of juice, and the rest was boiling water and vanilla.
Sprinkle the rose petals on top, then add the crème in small dollops. Chill for at least two hours.
Technically this dessert serves four, unless you decide to have it for your lunch, in which case you’ll want to eat half of it right away, saving the other half for later. This isn’t a sinful lunch, honest. Very little sweetener, fresh lemons, fresh peel, a little Kefir, very probiotic and healthy, actually!
The herbal tea will be sufficiently dried by tonight. Lemon, mint, and rose petals, of course.
|Lemon, mint and rose petal tea -- so fragrant!|