Every time I have a dinner party I rummage through my recipe collection with grandiose plans of making decadent, rich and completely over-the-top desserts – rich cheesecakes, trifles topped with Himalayan mounds of whipped cream, syrupy gulab jamuns….the list is endless. But each time, I chicken out as my mental calorie counter kachinnnnggs crazily and poof! all thought of sweet gluttony vanish faster than I can say “Cake!”
The truth is, that at the end of a party-sized meal, many people barely peck at dessert, which makes my two boys very happy since they can pig out on it for the next three days. Also over the last three or four years, my conscience has become rather health conscious, and I invariably succumb to its silent whispers and go for desserts with a narrower waistline. But all is not lost because in the quest to find lighter desserts that are heavy on deliciousness I have discovered, adapted and tweaked a collection of recipes that are keepers for many a dinner soiree.
A champagne jelly is something I’ve been wanting to make for a while simply because the whole idea of eating champagne or sparkling wine or Prosecco is so luxurious, like sleeping on golden, satiny sheets amid clouds of goose-down pillows. While you swirl champagne dreams in your mouth, your eyes can drink in the filmstar-like looks of the dessert – juicy strawberries, blushing peaches and plump oranges framed in a golden spotlight. I know, it sounds exaggerated but on a warm summer evening, you will want to lose yourself in the amber embrace of this dessert. I promise.
But no hard and fast rules here, champagne can be replaced by a sparkling wine (even a non-alcoholic one although in my book that’s mildly blasphemous!); and you can choose different fruit depending on whatever’s in season. Just ensure that the fruit is ripe but firm – squishy fruit will not hold its shape when sliced and will look like mush. You could even pop in a few sprigs of mint for that extra zip. Use your imagination but take care not to load on the fruit…it’s supposed to be an elegant dessert.
- 2 cups mixed fruits - peaches, oranges, strawberries peeled and sliced
- 21/2 tsp gelatin
- 4 cups champagne
- 1/2 cup sugar
- Mix gelatin in 1/4 cup champagne and let it fully soften and dissolve.
- Heat 1 cup champagne in a saucepan to a boil and mix in the sugar to completely dissolve. Remove from heat and mix in the gelatin mixture. Pour in the remaining champagne, mix thoroughly and set to cool over a bowl of ice.
- Pour cooled mixture into wine or dessert glasses and chill for 45 mins to an hour till it's just barely setting. Arrange the fruit equally in all the glasses and chill till for 3-4 hours till completely set.