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Quivering With Passion Jellies: A Little Romance from Nigella

Posted Feb 11 2010 2:01am
With Valentine's Day looming on the horizon this weekour theme at I Heart Cooking Clubs is appropriately A Little Romance. To be honest I am not a huge fan of the holidaymaybe due to my inability to sustain long-term romantic relationshipsbut that's a story for my therapist not for my blog! ;-) My best Valentine's Day ever? It was back when I was working in the International department of a the giant coffee empire. When we traveled internationally we were booked in coach with "possible" upgrades "when available" with an airline that carried said coffee brand. Well available upgrades were pretty rare so we usually ended up stuck in coach--not fun when you travel often and long distances for business. So it was Valentines Day and I was scheduled to fly to Tokyo and (surprise!) no upgrades came through so I had a stop in San Franciscoa center seat in coachand a very grumpy attitude. That morning San Fran was fogged in and the flight there delayed for several hoursand since I was in danger of missing my connectionthe airline sent mevoucher in hand over to Continental who had a direct flight about to take off. When I walked up to the desk at the gate and handed my voucher inthe attendant looked at it and said "Well today is your lucky day! We are out of Coach seats and you are now in First Class." (Not Coachnot Business Class mind youbut First Class). "You are in First Class"--are there any five more beautiful words in the English language? I think not. So there I amseated in my comfylargeplenty of leg roomfully-reclining seatsipping a glass of champagne and perusing the lunch menuand the flight attendant brought out a little cart of movies for my in-seat player and had me pick a couple. Later on after being well fedwell beveragedand even plied with an ice cream sundae for dessertthey brought wrapped boxes of chocolate out for ussince we had to fly on Valentine's Day. Alternating between naps fully reclinedmovies and multiple feedingsI had a restful flightand as we were getting ready to land the flight attendants brought out roses for everyone and one even gave me an unopened bottle of champagne "for my hotel room." Yepthe day didn't involve any romancebut it had many of the important elements; flowerschocolate and champagne so I was happy.

I think Valentine's Day calls for a little indulgence--for me that is usually chocolatebut the title of Nigella's Quivering With Passion Jellieswas so funI had to make it. The fact that I am a fan of passionfruit and cloud-like whipped cream just sealed the deal. I have made two of Nigella's other syllabub recipes in the past (Turkish Delight and Calvados) and love the frothycreamy treatso having a layer of it on top of a gelatin made with passionfruit and white wine sounded perfect to me. (And the fact that it serves 2makes for good portion control and good for my willpowerwhich can disappear when sweets are involved). The recipe can be found in Nigella's "Feast" on pages 148 & 149.

Nigella says"You can make this the day beforeor at least the jellied partwhich should make life easier. The only thing to remember is that they must come out of the fridge in good time to come to room temperature otherwise that voluptuousinner-thigh wobble will be lost."

Quivering With Passion Jellies
"Feast" by Nigella Lawson
(Serves 2)

For the Jellies:
3/4 cup white wine
1 cup passionfruit pulp and seeds (about 5 fruits)
1/4 cup superfine sugar
1 gelatin sheet

For the Syllabub Topping:
2 passionfruit
2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
1 Tbsp white wine
1/3 cup heavy cream

Bring the wine and seeds and pulp of the passion fruit to a boil in a saucepanthen take off the heat and stir in the sugar. Pour through a sieve into a glass measuring cup to straindiscarding the seeds and pulp.

Soak the gelatin in cold water until soft--I just use a small oblong dish filled with about 1 1/2 inches cold water from the tap--then wring it out and whisk into the strained liquid. Pour the mixture into two glasses and put in the fridge to set. I don't bother with wine glasses or anything fancy-looking; in fact I rather prefer the jellies in the very plain glasses you seeand which are cleanedempty jars minus their lids.

When the jellies have setremove them from the fridge and start on the topping. You can either top them before dinner and let them get to room temperature in their entiretyor let them sit and have the chill taken off before you spoon over the syllabub-like mixture. Either wayscoop out the seeds and pulp of the 2 remaining passionfruit into a bowl with the confectioner's sugar and wine and stir to mix. Add the cream and gently whip until you have a soft and floaty aerated mass to dollop on top of each of the fragrant jellies.

Nigella's Note: "If you want to pair down all activitiesyou can make a passionfruit fool or syllabub--trulyit's somewhere in the middle--by dispensing with the jelly bit and augmenting the quantities of cream to 1 cuppassionfruit to 6confectioner's sugar to 1/3 cup and wine to 3 tablespoonsor better stillreplace with Southern Comfort. The method is much the same; mix passionfruitsugar and liqueur in a bowl and then pour in cream and whisk until you have requisite floaty mass and divide between two glasses."

Notes/Results: Delicious--a combination of creamy-sweet and slightly tart. I used the passionfruit we have in Hawaii (called lilikoi here)they are similar to the purple passion fruit you may be more familiar withexcept usually a bit larger and a bit more tart. We do see purple ones here toobut I mostly find the yellow ones. (Here's a picture from a Lilikoi Curd post if you want to see them). Since they are in season hereI got my seven needed for the recipe for $3.00--not too bad--could have made this one for last week's Budgets & Bargains theme! I used a package of gelatin granules instead of the gelatin sheet Nigella called for which worked fine and the jellies went together well. I did have a bit of a challenge with my syllabubit was just not setting up at all when I whipped it and although it is not supposed to be firmNigella says it should be a "softfloaty aerated mass" and this was more like a slightly thick creamy liquid goo. After a lot of mixing and finally determining it just wasn't going to set up(I am thinking maybe I had more passionfruit pulp than Nigella intended since the lilikoi are slightly larger)I made a quick decision to whip up another 1/3 cup of cream with a bit of powdered sugar and get it a bit firmer than normal for syllabub. Then I folded the firmer whipped cream into my liquidy passionfruit mixtureand together they made just the right texture--floaty and aerated! ;-) The flavor was still delicious--I think with the strong flavor of the jellieshaving less passionfruit flavor in the syllabub was a positive thing. Other than that brief detour it was a simplestraight forward recipe and I would make it again. I thought about putting them into a fancier glass but since Nigella uses a simple jarI used some juice glasses with a similar look. If you can't find lilikoi where you livea similar layered concoction with berries instead would be easy and fun to make in summer too.

You can see how the other IHCC participants found A Little Romance in their Nigella recipes by going to the IHCC site here and following the links to their posts.

How will you be celebrating Valentine's Day this year?
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