The onset of summer makes me feel giddy. And it seems from those piling into beer gardens and loading up their hampers for picnics in parks, I’m not alone. Perhaps this is because it is of course too early for summer, I’m not ready for it. And to be fair, it’s barely arrived. Spring is still occasionally stamping its feet with late April showers, and shaking its blossom filled trees to remind us of its presence. But those hot hazy golden days are creeping in, even on bank holiday weekends, the traditional domain of miserable, dreary weather, which we bravely brazen out, so determined are we to make the most of the one day vacation from work. No need this year: sunshine and giddiness prevails.
Such giddiness calls for something silly, something bright and zippy, and maybe a bit childish. Something that is as intense and ephemeral as the British summer. I’m making jelly. And not just any jelly: a jelly flavoured with old-fashioned lemonade, sharp and sweet, and a little cloudy, turned rose pink by raspberries, muddled and whole. I’m not going to pretend that this jelly is anything but silly, in all its bright pink jiggling glory, but the lemon juice means that the birthday-party-sweetness of the pudding is balanced by the citrus tartness – it also ensures a soft set on the gelatine, so the jelly stands proud when unmoulded, but melts in the mouth.
Pink lemonade jelly
Makes: 1 600ml jelly (enough for 6)
Takes: 10 minutes, plus overnight chilling
Bakes: No time at all
70g granulated sugar
Juice of 5 lemons
Zest of 1 lemon
5 sheets gelatine (platinum grade)
- First, bloom the gelatine by placing the gelatine sheets in a bowl of cold water: make sure the sheets are fully submerged. Leave for 5 minutes, until the sheets are soft and pliable.
- While the sheets are soaking, make a syrup with the 65ml water and the 70g granulated sugar. Place the two in a small saucepan, and bring rapidly to a boil, then remove from the heat.
- Squeeze the water from the gelatine sheets, then stir the sheets sheets into the warm syrup until they completely dissolve. Stir the fruit juices, 200ml cold water, and lemon zest into the syrup.
- Squidge 100g of the raspberries with a fork until they break down: stir these and the 50g whole raspberries into the lemon mixture, and pour all of this into a 600ml jelly mould and refrigerate overnight, until set.
- To release the jelly, carefully run a little warm water over the mould, avoiding the jelly. Leave for two minutes, and then upend onto a large dinner plate.