After the Trifle Disaster of 2012, I hope you can understand that I needed a little break from baking. I'm loving jelly recipes at the moment, and I wanted to come up with something easy, fruity and fresh. And since it was Mother's Day this weekend, I thought it would be cute idea to serve them in some adorable, girly tea cups as well. Teacup jellies!
Aaaand since the jellies were going to be in tea cups I figured, why not make a tea flavoured jelly? I love using tea in desserts, especially earl grey and green tea. This time I happened to have a tin of jasmine tea that I wanted to use. I drink my fair share of jasmine tea when I eat out at restaurants since it's usually the default tea served, but to be honest I don't love it. I find jasmine can be a tad too floral for my tastes while eating savoury food, I usually prefer tik koon yam (spelling?) tea at home and with yum cha. Mmm yum cha...
What was I talking about? Oh. So it turns out the floral notes in the jasmine tea make it perfect for using in a dessert. It's a very, very light floral scent so you don't have to worry about it tasting like a bar of soap the way that some lavender desserts can taste, for example. The floral and bitter flavour of the tea is a great match for the sweet mandarin juice and tart, fresh raspberries. I was honestly surprised by how interestingly and pleasantly the flavours worked together.
Of course there's no reason why you have to restrict yourself to jasmine tea for this recipe. I can imagine earl grey or green tea working just as well, or any other sweet black tea. And of course you could play around with the combination of fruit flavours as well, I bet a sweet green tea jelly with blackberries would be great. You could even use sparkling wine or add a bit of liqueur or spirits to make boozy tea cup jellies. Gin in a tea cup jelly! The jellies were a little cloudier than I had hoped for, but you can still see the raspberries in the cups and I think the effect is quite pretty.
I know there's nothing super exciting or challenging about jelly, but I love to have a really easy recipe to do every now and then, especially when I'm crazy busy. Also, pretty much everything looks great when it's served in a tea cup with gorgeous little spoons. I think my love of jelly comes from all the giant ones my Mum used to make for parties (gotta love the retroness of it!), and the little agar jellies she always makes for dessert with tinned fruit salad and a hint of rose syrup in pretty moulds. I guess that's why it felt so appropriate making these for Mother's Day. I miss her lots but I get to see her in a week, yay!
Mandarin & Jasmine Tea Cup Jellies with Raspberries
(makes approximately 4 tea cup jellies)
Juice of 2-3 fresh mandarins (about 1/3 cup) plus extra mandarin to decorate (can be replaced with fresh orange juice)
1 tbsp powdered gelatine (can be replaced with agar)
1 tbsp sugar
400ml (approx 1 & 2/3 cups) boiling water
1 tsp jasmine tea leaves (can be replaced with other tea - e.g. green tea or earl grey)
1 punnet fresh raspberries (can be replaced with other berries)
Place boiling water and tea leaves in a bowl and leave to steep until it is strong enough to your liking, at least 10 mins. In a small saucepan, stir together gelatine, sugar and mandarin juice and leave for 1 minute while gelatine softens. Place over medium heat and stir until gelatine is completely dissolved, about 6-8 minutes.
Strain tea to remove leaves and stir in gelatine mixture. (Feel free to adjust the balance of flavours to taste at this point) Pour mixture into tea cup, add a few rasberries to each tea cup. Chill in the refrigerator until set, at least 2 hours or overnight. When ready to serve, remove from the fridge and top with extra mandarin slices and raspberries. Can be stored in the fridge for a couple days.