Your Recipe Blog



Ever wondered what gave grandma’s milktart the perfect wobble or taken a moment to remember how, when you had your tonsils out you had all the jelly and custard that you could eat?

Gelatine is a colourless, flavourless substance that is used in recipes as a gelling agent. It is most commonly enjoyed with custard, whipped cream or a selection of fruits of your choice.

Step guide to cooking and working with gelatine:

Soak it first:
Whether you are using it so keep your Mohawk straight and true or you are hosting a children’s party with a conjurer and jelly you will need to prepare your gelatine first. Before you start working on you need to soak it in warm water, the warm water will dissolve the gelatine granules so that it can be easily incorporated into the mixture that you want to set; granny’s milktart or her salmon mousse for example.

Various types of gelatine:
Traditionally gelatine is a by-product from the skin, bones and joints of animals such as cows, chickens and pigs. Although you can now use a vegetarian form known as agar-agar, which comes from seaweed. There is also a variety forms and variations, it can come in granulated form, powder, instant gelatine and sheets. Instant gelatine powder can be added to the food immediately and does not need to be soaked beforehand like sheets, granules or powder.

Sheet gelatine:
When working with sheets of gelatine it is advisable to soak tem until they are floppy and saturated with warm water- you should soak your gelatine in warm water as cold water will have no effect on your gelatine sheets what-so-ever.

Granular gelatine:
Strangely enough, although the general rule of thumb when working with gelatine is to soak it in hot water in order to get it pliable granulated gelatine needs to be soaked in cold water for approximately 3-5 minutes before adding the boiling hot water.

Prevent early setting:
Once your gelatine has been moistened with warm water you must NEVER add warmed up gelatine into cold water before you have mixed it in to your recipe because it will set. It is for this very reason that when you are making a milk tart or a blanc-mange you will keep the ingredients at room temperature. You wouldn’t want unsightly stringy bits of gelatine getting caught in your teeth.

In desserts:
Gelatine is an obligatory ingredient in desserts- Marshmallows, jelly and custard and some ice-cream recipes all call for a measurement of gelatine, but it can also be used for savoury dishes.

Savoury dishes:
Step into your time machine and travel back to the 1970’s to a time of moulded salads of carrots and pineapple suspended in bright orange gelatine, its not particular popular these days but at one time you couldn’t go out to dinner without being served up a slice of salad. These days you will most likely be enjoying aspic, which is a savoury gelatine used to glaze meats and fish as well as terrine’s and mousses.

Mix with fruits:
Be careful of mixing certain fruits with gelatine- Certain fruits, such as kiwis, pineapple, guava or papaya will hinder setting due to an enzyme called bromelain that will weaken the gelatine’s structure.

Too much sugar:
The amount of sugar in a recipe will affect how hard your gelatine sets, the more sugar there is the softer the gelatine will be.

Chill your gelatine:
The average amount of time gelatine takes to set is approximately 2 hours.

Did you know:
This might not have anything to do with baking but it certainly is interesting; did you know that synchronised swimmers use it to keep their hair in place during their routines as it will not dissolve in the cold water of the pool.


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