As much as I enjoy a glass of wine, particularly at the end of a hectic day, there’s more to its delights than merely drinking it. Thanks to the wonders of gelatin, you can eat your wine, too. A glass of wine jelly, or wine gelée, anyone?
It’s a ridiculously easy dessert that provides loads of creative possibilities. Steep the wine with herbs. Mint is always good, but obvious. Why not experiment with basil, rosemary, lemon verbena, lemon balm, or anise hyssop? Each would add its own intriguing nuance of flavor.
Or mull the wine with spices. Cinnamon, allspice, and cloves are the likely candidates, but you could get a little frisky with star anise, fennel seeds, or coriander. Mulling is usually associated with red wine, but there’s no reason to let it have all the fun. Whites or fortified wines such as Madeira, sherry, or port take kindly to spices, too.
It’s a cinch to suspend berries or other fruit in the jelly; just put them in the wine glasses and pour the warm wine mixture over them. You can assemble wine jellies before you leave for work in the morning, stick them in the fridge, and come home to a snazzy dessert that’s all set to serve. So stop reading and start simmering!
To make the four gelées above, sprinkle 1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin over ¼ cup dry white wine to soften for 1 minute. Meanwhile, heat 1 cup dry white wine with ½ cup sugar over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Add the softened gelatin and stir until it dissolves, too. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in another cup of white wine.
Divide 6 ounces of raspberries between 4 wine glasses. If you happen to have some crème de cassis—it’s what turns white wine into a kir—pour about 2 to 3 teaspoons over the berries in each glass. If there’s a bit of foam on the surface of the wine mixture, strain the wine mixture through a fine sieve over the berries; if not, just pour it straight into the glasses. Cover the glasses with plastic wrap to keep the desserts from absorbing those charming aromas wafting around your fridge, then chill the jellies while you head off to work or go to sleep. By the time you come home or wake up (count on 6 hours minimum), your gelées will be ready. See? It really is that easy!