Almond Jelly with Fresh Fruit
This recipe is featured in Chinese Fairy Tale Feasts
One of the few traditional Chinese desserts is almond jelly – also known as almond float. It is a refreshing light dessert and provides a serving of milk and fruit. It is popular in Asia and on dim sum menus. My cousins in Hawaii introduced me to this recipe. I have modified it to make it healthier, yet still retain the yummy taste, using ingredients that are easily found in supermarkets.
- 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
- 175 ml (¾ cup) water, divided
- 75 ml (⅓ cup) granulated sugar
- 300 ml (1¼ cups) whole milk
- 10 ml (2 teaspoons) almond extract
- About 500 ml (2 cups) fresh fruit such as berries, peaches, pears*
- 30 ml (2 tablespoons) orange juice
- Measuring cups & spoons
- Liquid measuring cups
- Wooden spoon
- Small pot
- Rubber spatula
- 20 cm (8-inch) square glass or ceramic pan
- Plastic wrap
- Cutting board & knife for fresh fruit
- Can opener for canned fruit
* Please note that fresh pineapple, kiwi fruit, papayas, mangoes, figs, guava and ginger root contain enzymes that will ruin the jelly. If you wish to use these fruits with the almond jelly, first heat them to 85ºC (185ºF) to destroy the enzyme. Another option is to use canned fruit salad or mandarin orange slices.
1. In a small bowl, soften the gelatin in 60 ml (1/4 cup) of cold water. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, combine 125 ml (1/2 cup) water with the sugar and milk until the sugar is dissolved; be careful not to scorch the milk. Stir with a wooden spoon.
2. When the sugar is dissolved, add the softened gelatin by scraping it all out with a rubber spatula. Use gentle heat and mixing to fully dissolve the gelatin. DO NOT boil this gelatin mixture as it will reduce its thickening ability. Remove from heat, and cool by stirring the hot mixture till lukewarm. Add the almond extract and mix well.
3. Pour into the pan and refrigerate until firm, at least three hours. Meanwhile, wash fresh fruit in cold water and remove any blemishes, peels or skins. Cut into bite-sized pieces. Pour the orange juice over the fruit and stir to coat (this prevents browning) or use canned fruit. Refrigerate until ready to use.
4. When the almond jelly is firm, cut it into 1.5 cm (3/4-inch) cubes. Serve the cubes in individual bowls with a generous scoop of fresh fruit or canned fruits with some of their syrup.