And doesn't that look good?
I know, it’s been a while. Never mind.
I’m back now.
I’ve been unwell and it’s been hot – these two things are related.
However, I figure most of my Southern Hemisphere readership has also been feeling a tad warm, so here’s a quick and easy dessert recipe to (a) cool you down and (b) entertain the kidlets as you get toward the end of the School holidays.
This recipe uses exactly two (2) ingredients: evaporated milk and instant jelly (jello).
You’ll also need an electric mixer or be an absolute virtuoso at hand whisking.
This dessert resembles mousse and takes nothing more than a good sense of timing, really.
Basically, you chill a tin of evaporated milk. Then you make up a sachet of flavoured jelly, using only half the water and pop it into the fridge. Then, when the jelly is only just set, you whip up the milk until it triples in volume and mix in the jelly.
Spoon into parfait dishes (or, you know, whatever) chill for another hour and eat.
Easy as, bru.
The timing comes into the whole “only just set” bit. You’ll wait and wait and wait (and the kids will nag and nag and nag…) and then suddenly it will be completely firm, because of course. If this happens, then nil desperandum, pop the jelly into the microwave for 10 seconds and it will no longer be perfectly set.
So! From the beginning then…
Pop a tin of evaporated milk into the refrigerator for a few hours, or make it easier on yourself and just keep one in there.
Then make up a packet of jelly – or as the Americans call it, Jello – but only use half the water needed.
A packet of Strawberry Jelly crystals.
I prefer not to use “diet” jellies for this, the artificial sweeteners don’t really help the flavour profile of what is actually a very rich dish. I always find it has a rather metallic taint to it, however you may not so go with what you have.
This packet called for 2 cups or 500 ml of water to be added, so I added only 1 cup – half boiling and half chilled.
Jelly Crystals. Pretty, aren’t they?
I have trouble dissolving it all properly in such a small amount of water, so I use a tiny whisk I got in a Christmas gift of Hot Chocolate a few years ago. It’s okay though, you may use a spoon.
Isn’t it precious? (The hot chocolate mix it came with was awful!)
Put your jelly liquid in the fridge and wait until it has just begun to set – you don’t want a liquid and you don’t want a sliceable texture either. Give it 2 to 3 hours, tops.
When it gets there, remove your evaporated milk into the basin of a mixer and prepare to be amazed. It will start out looking like this.
Evap milk: Exhibit A
Beat it on full speed for several minutes. It will start to thicken and will eventually form stiff peaks.
You might think it’s not going to work and then it will. Like this.
Evap milk: Exhibit B.
Now spoon in your jelly and mix gently until incorporated.
Can you see the strawberry tint to it? Can you? Can you?
It will smell delicious.
Now, scrape down the sides of your bowl with a spatula and give it a final stir by hand, making sure to incorporate any heavier bits of jelly that have dropped to the bottom of the mixing bowl.
Spoon into parfait dishes and return to the refrigerator for one hour. Do NOT do what I did and pile it up in the bowl, it won’t hold its own weight and will spill over the sides of the dish. You have been warned.
And doesn’t that look good?
I would suggest using milkshake glasses if you have them, just quietly.
This will serve four generously. If there are not that many of you and you wish to keep some for later (!) then be sure to cover with plastic wrap or a lid of some kind. The jelly will do what jelly does and form a skin. This is by no means inedible – just ask me – but it isn’t particularly attractive.
So, there you go. A cool, rich dessert for a hot summer night.
Even the kids could make it. Heavens, they could even wash up the mixing bowl and clean the kitchen while you wait for it to set.
Just a thought.
Man oh man!
1 400g tin evaporated milk (a little larger or smaller won’t matter)
1 packet flavoured jelly crystals
Chill the evaporated milk in its tin for a few hours or overnight.
Make up the jelly crystals using only half the water called for in the packet instructions.
(Most packets call for 2 cups or 500 ml of water, so use ½ a cup of boiling water to dissolve the crystals thoroughly and then add ½ a cup of cool water to complete.)
Place in the refrigerator to chill until only just set. It should be neither liquid nor solid.
This will take about 3 hours. If you do misjudge the window – or forget- and it sets hard, simply microwave for 10 secs and then return to the refrigerator if necessary.
When the jelly is set sufficiently, empty the evaporated milk into a large bowl and beat on high speed with an electric mixer until thickened and doubled in volume – about 4 minutes.
Add the jelly and mix gently until incorporated.
Spoon into serving dishes and return to the refrigerator for a further hour before serving.
Cover any leftovers to prevent a ‘skin’ from forming.
You may wish to garnish with fruit to match the flavour of the jelly…