Want a fast and easy, make-ahead, low-carb, festive dessert to rival Christmas pudding? This is it! With a flavour profile that’s light, lively and as sweet as it is tart, I’ve stolen this recipe from Annie Bell’s book ‘Low Carb Revolution’ then made it suitable for vegetarians/vegans by using agar agar rather than gelatine to make deliciously fruity, firm set jellies.
This is jelly come-of-age. Rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese and other antioxidants it looks elegant, tastes delicious and is as close to health food as you can get. The perfect antidote to the groaning Christmas table and eating and drinking more than is strictly good for you!
Blueberry and Apple Jellies (Serves 4)
1 litre clear apple juice (I used Coldpress Golden Delicious apple juice)
150g organic blueberries
2 level tbsp Clearspring agar flakes (see Notes below)
Sprigs of organic mint - to garnish
Pour the apple juice into a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. When at boiling point, turn the heat down and let the apple juice simmer away, uncovered, until it is reduced by half.
Take off the heat, cover and leave to cool (I plunged the base of the pan into cold water to speed things up)
When cold, sprinkle the agar flakes over the surface of the apple juice and then heat without stirring until boiling. Simmer, stirring occasionally until the agar flakes have completely dissolved, which takes about 5 minutes.
Take off the heat and allow the apple jelly mixture to cool down in the pan for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, divide the blueberries equally between four individual glasses.
Ladle or pour the apple jelly over the blueberries, which will float to the surface. Cover and chill until set.
Decorate with a sprig of fresh mint and serve.
Agar agar is a gelling agent, made from algae (extracted from seaweed) which is mainly used for setting jellies. It is a viable vegetarian alternative to gelatine, which is made from animal collagen. However, agar agar makes a distinctly firm-set jelly that won’t melt-in-the-mouth like gelatine-set puddings do.
A very small amount of agar agar will set a large amount of liquid so you need to be very precise with your measuring. Clearspring recommend using 1 tablespoon of agar flakes to set 240ml of liquid. I used 2 tablespoons (slightly less) to set 500ml (i.e. the reduced quantity of apple juice in this recipe) and it still made a very firm jelly. When I re-create this dessert for our Christmas Eve celebrations I intend to use just 1½ tablespoons of agar flakes to see if this produces a slightly softer mouth-feel. If successful, I’ll update this blog accordingly.
You can find agar flakes online (click the link above) in most health food shops and big supermarkets in the Japanese food section.
Carbohydrate 33g Protein 0g - per serving