With different flavors, colors, and combinations, a great variety of attractive desserts can be made with gelatine. They are inexpensive, require no skill, and the work is accomplished in a very few minutes.
Gelatine should be soaked in cold water in a cold place (one cupful of water to a box of gelatine) for one or more hours; then dissolved in a little hot water, or added to the hot mixture. Treated in this way it will dissolve quickly, and be free from taste or smell. If soaked in warm water, in a warm place it will have a disagreeable taste and odor, requiring much flavoring to overcome.
It does not need cooking. If the jelly is not suffieiently firm, add more gelatine; boiling down will not effect the purpose.
Observe the quantity of gelatine stated on the box, as some brands do not contain two ounces. Two ounces will take one and three quarter quarts of liquid, including that used for soaking and flavoring. The directions given on the boxes usually give the proportion of one ounce to a quart of liquid, but this will not insure a jelly which will stand firm, and it is safer to use less liquid.
For this amount two cupfuls of sugar will give about the right sweetening, but must be modified to suit the flavoring used. In summer, or if the jelly will have to stand any length of time after it is un-molded, it is better to use but one and one half quarts of liquid to two ounces of gelatine.
Most of the brands of gelatine are already clarified, and need only to be passed through a sieve to remove the lemon-zest and any particles of gelatine that may not have dissolved. Any fruit juices used should be passed through a filter-paper (see below) before being added to the jelly: straining the jelly once or twice through a felt or flannel will usually give perfectly limpid and beautiful jelly. When, however, they need to be clarified, or a particularly brilliant jelly is required, stir into the mixture when it is cool the whites of two eggs, well broken but not too much frothed; add also the shells; stir it over the fire until it boils; let it simmer a few minutes and strain it, twice if necessary, through a bag, without pressure. A piece of flannel laid over a sieve or strainer may be substituted for a bag if more convenient.
Place the mold in a bowl containing cracked ice; the jelly will then quickly harden, and the process of fancy molding not be tedious. Have the mold perfectly even, so the jelly will stand firm and straight when unmolded; also, do not move the mold while filling, as jarring or shaking is likely to separate the layers and cause them to fall apart. Have the jelly mixture cold, but not ready to set, or it will take in bubbles of air and cloud the jelly. Pour in one layer at a time and let it harden before adding the next. Do not, however, let it become too firm or gather moisture, or it will not unite, and also will be clouded. (See picture facing page 386).
To suspend a bunch of grapes in the center of a form, first pour into the mold a layer of jelly one half inch deep; let it harden; then place on it, and arrange in good shape the bunch of grapes, leaving one half inch or more space around the sides; pour in another half inch of jelly, but not enough to float the grapes; when that has set, cut with scissors the grape stem in many places, so it will fall apart when served; then fill the mold with jelly. Any fruits, or flowers, can be put in in the same way, care being used to add at first only just enough jelly to fix the ornament; otherwise it will float out of place. Plain jellies are more transparent when molded in forms having a cylindrical tube in the center, like cake-tins. The space left can be filled with whipped cream or with fruits, which gives a pretty effect. (See picture).
JELLY WITH A ROSE MOLDED IN IT AND GARNISHED WITH ROSES. (SEE PAGE 414).
See page 324.
Jellies are improved by serving with them whipped cream, custard, or puree of fruits. It may be poured around, not over, the jelly on the same dish. When a sauce is not used, have a lace paper under the jelly. Jelly is more attractive when served on a flat glass dish.
For fruit jellies it is well to use a china mold, or else coat the tin one with clear jelly (see page 323), as tin is likely to discolor it.
Pass the fruit juice through filter-paper laid in a funnel. If filter-paper is not at hand, soak unsized paper to a pulp. Wash it in several waters; press it dry; and spread it on a small sieve or in a funnel, and drain the juice through it. If orange, lemon, or other fruit juices are first clarified, it will often obviate the necessity of straining the jelly. (See illustration facing page 388).