Showing posts with label coffee jelly. Show all posts
Showing posts with label coffee jelly. Show all posts

Friday, September 13, 2013

Coffee Jelly

by Sheila Connolly

I have finally solved the mystery of my grandmother's coffee jelly.

I may have mentioned that my grandmother never really learned to cook, with the exception of penuche fudge and meatloaf.  But I have a lingering memory of her and my mother making a coffee gelatin dessert a long time ago. The result was memorable because it consisted of two distinct layers, one clear and dark, one lighter and opaque. It was never replicated, and I didn't like coffee back then, so I more or less forgot about it.

But this past weekend, in my never-ending hunt for strange and obscure cooking memorabilia, I came upon a Knox Gelatine pamphlet dated 1927 (when my grandmother would have been a young bride), and lo and behold, there were two coffee-based recipes in there, and a light-bulb went on:  make both, and spoon one over the other before chilling (the lighter one floats, and when you unmold the dessert, it ends up on the bottom).

Of course, gelatine in 1927 is not quite the same as gelatine today.  For one thing, the older form required some form of "acidulation" to make it work, either in the form of an acidic fruit juice or by adding a separate package of lemon flavoring (you have to remember that lemons were harder to come by in the 1920s; they were probably also smaller, so when a recipe called for "juice of half a lemon" it may have been no more than a teaspoon's worth). I ignored the whole issue of lemons here.

Per their measurements, a tablespoon of gelatin could "jell" a pint of liquid. The recipes given below were said to make 6 servings, although what size that may have been is anybody's guess. A half cup?

Funny thing—I have a whole lot of molds for jellied desserts, both large and small.


1 level Tblsp Knox Gelatine
¼ cup cold water
1 ½ cups clear strong coffee (hot)
1/3 cup sugar
A few grains of salt

Soak the gelatine in the cold water for five minutes.  Dissolve in the hot coffee.  Add the sugar and salt and stir until dissolved. 

Rinse your mold in cold water and fill with the jelly mixture. Refrigerate until set. (Small molds with harden more quickly than a single large one.)

To unmold, immerse the mold to the top for a second in warm—not hot!—water (do not let the water flow over the molded jelly).  Slightly loosen jelly at the edge, turning the mold from side to side, then place a serving dish on top of the mold, invert it, and carefully remove the mold.


1 level Tblsp Knox Gelatine
¼ cup cold water
1 ½ cups clear strong coffee (hot)
3/4 cup sugar
Whites of two eggs (room temperature)
A few grains of salt

Soak the gelatin in cold water for five minutes.  Add to the hot coffee, then add sugar.

Strain into a pan or metal bowl.  Set the pan/bowl in a larger pan/bowl of ice water, cool slightly, then beat, using a wire whisk, until quite stiff. 

Beat the whites of the eggs until stiff, then add to the cooled mixture and continue beating until the mixture will hold its shape.

Turn into a wet mold.  Chill thoroughly. 

Remove from mold and serve with sugar and thin cream.

Of course you can make either one on its own.  But if you're trying to make My Grandmother's Layered Coffee Jelly, you would wet your mold, pour in a layer of the clear jelly, then carefully spoon over it a layer of the foamy jelly, and chill.  When you serve it, garnish with plenty of sweetened whipped cream.

Who knows—maybe molded salads will make a comeback!

(We will not explore the social and bovine implications of this publication!)