Cost: about £1 for 5 jellies (600ml total volume) but it depends on the juice and fruit you choose
These little jellies are jewel-bright and intensely fruity – with no added sugar and zero fat, they are an extremely healthy treat. And they are super-satisfyingly wobbly. A great treat for kids…and a useful gluten-free and dairy-free dessert option for guests with dietary restrictions.
We don’t have any children, and up until the last few years, I didn’t ever really come into contact with them. But a couple of years ago, I started teaching Sunday school at church and getting to know the families a bit better, and even more recently our close friends have started to have children – and we have four little nieces, two on each side of the family (plus a very little nephew), so we’re starting to get a little more practice.
I went to stay with my cousin’s family recently, which is always a joy, but I had a particularly good time reading books with my nieces. The 5 -year old can read as well I as can, maybe slightly better, but the 2-year old delights in choosing a favourite book and settling down to be read to. Over four days, we read the Jolly Postman together between 15 and 20 times, and each time she would point to the drawings of luminous, towering jellies and say “I want to eat that.” or “I looove jelly.” Recently, they returned the visit and I thought maybe I could use this information to try and transfer her love of jelly to love of me.
As it turns out, at 2 years old, she goes through brief but intense phases of liking things, and in the months between my visiting them and my aunt bringing both girls to stay with us, she was totally over the Jolly Postman and didn’t ask for jelly. She did, however, ask for “A hug. A big, giant hug. A big, giant, looong hug!” and on receiving it told me “I couldn’t love you more.”
Right back at you!
Recipe: Little Raspberry Jellies
The jelly moulds were from the pound shop a few weeks ago (I think little individual ones are easier to unmould and to serve, and with the airtight lids they also keep in the fridge for a few days) but I think you can also buy them at supermarkets. We’d just had a large lunch party, and had lots of leftover juice/cordial but only a splash of each, so we used apple/raspberry juice and elderflower cordial, but this would work with most non-citrus juices (not pineapple), and we try to buy the not-from-concentrate ones. I think it’s worth using fancy juice because it is the whole flavour of the dessert, and a transparent juice gives a lovely sparkly jelly. I’d never used gelatine until a couple of years ago – too intimidated – but it’s very straightforward and nothing to be intimidated by.
200ml elderflower cordial (not the concentrate – made up to drink)
300ml not-from-concentrate apple and raspberry juice
5 leaves gelatine (or enough to set 500ml liquid according to packet instructions. I wanted maximum wobbliness but you could use enough to set 600mls if you wanted a firmer set)
Handful of raspberries, fresh or defrosted from frozen (about 80g)
1. Make sure the jelly moulds are clean, either in the dishwasher or washing with hot soapy water. Check the volume of the moulds by filling them with water and pouring the contents into a measuring jug, and scale the recipe up or down as necessary.
2. Soak the gelatine in cold water according to packet instructions (about 4 minutes) until very soft and floppy. Whilst they are soaking, divide the raspberries evenly between the moulds.
3. Squeeze the water from the gelatine leaves and place in a medium-sized saucepan, over a low heat. They will melt in about 30 seconds – then add the elderflower cordial, gradually and stirring constantly (don’t worry about it though!) Remove from heat.
4. Pour in the juice, stirring constantly, and then pour into the moulds. Leave to set in the fridge for a couple of hours (using 6 leaves of gelatine will mean it takes a much shorter time)
5. To unmould the jellies, run hot water over the moulds to loosen. For these little jellies, I then just shake them really hard until you feel them come loose (don’t worry, it doesn’t damage the shape as they can’t move much between the mould and the lid), then invert onto a saucer.
These are super-healthy for a dessert, nutritionally speaking about the same as half a glass of fruit juice. But I have to admit that we ate them with Cornish vanilla ice cream.
*Postcard to my niece from our holiday in Japan
How do letters travel
Over hills and far away?
We give them to a postman
Who is jolly, so they say
But what about a postcard
Sent to Momo from Japan?
Can he take it on his bicycle?
I do not think he can.
Because to go from here to Scotland
You cross a third of the world’s surface
We need a little help from
A jolly airmail service!
Anyway, by sending this
I just meant to say
I had such fun with you in Glasgow!
With much love from Aunty Fei