By now you have probably figured out that accuracy is not my cooking method of choice. I use (I once thought everyone did-) a recipe as an armature to tweak and mold according to that day's whim or cupboard's contents. Sometimes I win, sometimes I lose but the results are almost always intriguing not to mention edible. I have taken to writing loose instructions on this blog, probably also as a direct result of my communication style with my attendants. In fact one has mentioned from time to time, that I really need to let my readers know about this tendency. I don't think she is amused when I hand her a list of ingredients with questionable measurements on the back of an envelope-sans instructions, and try to pass it off as a recipe. I also try to use simple directions along with collapsing several cooking steps into one in order to not overly complicate the process. (As I have not figured out how to link to past posts, please refer to "Ecru Brute" in my archives for a better understanding on the issue). Going deeper, I feel that the cooking process is an experiment and a sensory experience. I think you need to really involve the senses and pay attention (end of lecture). The adaptions that I made to this Epicurious gem are pretty basic, a few adjustments to the fat and sugar content. The big departure was in the final presentation. They set the gelee while tilted in the refrigerator creating an elegant diagonal within the dessert. This involved elegant tapered glasses propped up within an empty egg carton. I set my dessert in opaque plastic molds. However, had I known how utterly outstanding this dessert would be, I might have rushed out to purchase some beautiful glasses. In any case, this creation deserves a mental asterisk next to it. This is a winning collaboration between taste and texture. Gelee has a barely set quality to it. It instantly dissolves in the mouth leaving behind a shock of flavor. The passion fruit has a bright pucker to it which is mollified by the cream. Surprising basil comes in mid taste and lingers on. I believe that you will raise your eyebrows in delighted approval like I did.
Passion Fruit Gelee with Basil Cream- Adapted from Epicurious
4 (6-8 oz) attractive servings
Ingredients for Passion Fruit Gelee:
1 3/4 tsp unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup water
2 cups Passion Fruit Nectar (I used Ceres brand, Epicurious recommends Looza)
1/2 cup loosly packed, chopped basil
1/3 cup sugar (this is a reduction from 1/2 which I found too sweet).
1 1/2 cup half and half or heavy cream
1 tsp unflavored gelatin
2 Tblsp water
pinch of salt
Instructions: In preparation of the passion fruit gelee, place the water in a saucepan and sprinkle the gelatin to soften for a minute. Heat on low for about 2 minutes to dissolve gelatin completely. Turn off the fire and slowly pour in the juice to cool. Pour evenly amongst 4 glasses and refrigerate until set. If you want the "diagonal" I would suggest clicking on the hyperlink I've included at the recipe title. Next, sprinkle the gelatin over the remaining 2 Tblsp of water in a saucepan. Once again allow this to soften and separately mix the basil, sugar, half and half and salt into a bowl until the sugar is dissolved. Heat the gelatin and half and half mixture on low for 2 minutes. Turn the heat off. I tasted the mixture from time to time to make sure the basil didn't become too overpowering. Once the desired flavor is met, strain out the herb and allow the mixture to cool. Once room temperature, distribute evenly over the 4 set glasses and chill for a few hours.