Raspberries in Cardamom Coconut Jelly

Raspberries in Coconut jelly

Sometimes I come up with oddball ideas. When I run it by friends, sometimes, they make faces expressing incomprehensibility. I don't blame them. Sometimes, I can be a bit far out. A lot of times though, I still forge ahead because I am convinced that I am a genius. haha. Of course I am. Thing is, that behavior is sustained because about 80% of that playfulness pays off. I manage to cobble together something that tastes so much better than it originally sounded and some are just downright awesome. These are times, I bask in my "aha!" and "so there!" expressions.

So, as you may have guessed by now. This recipe was one of those bright sparks in my creative world that continues to shine. It was borne out of a need to use things up in my fridge, essentially coconut water and a pint of raspberries languishing from the weekend impulsiveness.

By the way, if no one has told you, when you open a carton of coconut water, please drink it within two days even if you refrigerate it. It turns rancid after that. Coconut water is notoriously perishable. That is why it is still not bottled in India and most tropical countries that the tree is native to. I remember growing up in India, you either get a freshly sawed off young coconut or not at all simply because it cannot be packaged and stored. So, honestly, I do not know what they do to get them in cartons here but surely stabilizers are added. While the stuff here tastes nothing like real coconut water, I still buy it occasionally for nostalgia and because it still has electrolytes and I think it is better than Vitamin water or other artificially sweetened

crap

,

stuff

.

Raspberries in Coconut jelly

So, anyway, I had this carton. I had gotten through about a third of it. And, those berries. I really did not want another smoothie. Really, really not. Fortuitously, I had just received a delivery of gelatin and decided I must use it somehow. Lo and behold, and, I smacked my head. Why had I not thought of it before! In my head, loomed the vision of a delicate translucent flesh encasing berries that would glow in luscious redness from inside. And, the whole thing would shimmy on the platter like once Nigella Lawson famously quoted "a courtesan's thigh"! Aha!

And, you know what. I also wanted it in a fun shape. It had to be something like a bundt cake. I wanted it tall and seductive. I wanted layers. Yes I did. But then, I never was good with three dimensional perspective (I barely passed my course on engineering drawing!). I had basically misjudged the amount of coconut water I had and the width of the pan. So, I ended up with a squat ranch style creation. But but but. It tasted brilliant!!

Even though I was full of confidence about my idea, I was still worried about its execution. You see, only after I had poured it into the mold, did it occur to me that it may not be the easiest task to get it out without tearing given all the ridges and funky nooks. Especially, since I wanted that quivering jelly, which, meant a soft set and that means so, so, so delicate. As it happened, sister luck decided to smile on me and a gentle dip in warm water slipped the whole jelly right out of mold just like... well...

fill in the blank with something to do with a courtesan

!

Raspberries in Coconut jelly

So there I was, looking at my creation with pride and joy. And, then it struck me. Translucence is bloody awful subject to photograph! And, it wasn't even sufficiently tall enough to be left statuesquely alone. Phase 2 of fretting began. Props, surfaces, textures. What, how, scramble. Colors. That is what I needed. The berries popped all right. Some things that look good to the eye do not always translate quite as well through the lens. That is why the human eye is a brilliant piece of evolution and makes life so much prettier, me thinks. But, I digress. Anyway. Pinkish red had to be balanced. Blue is a great color to complement and off set. I had a gorgeous plate I had not used in ages. Score!

Next, I had that gaping hole in the center from using a bundt pan. Brilliant idea at the time but monochrome imbalance in styling. Panic attack #3. Resolved when I spotted the bunch of sunflowers in my vase. They martyred themselves. Ok, they did not have a choice but they have been immortalized. so there! And, a few more touch ups here and there and I am happy with the results.

What do you think?

Raspberries in Coconut jelly

This is a dish of nuances. This is a dish for light touch. This is a dish that although not very tolerant of mistakes is a lot of fun to make and totally worth it!

On the taste, it is

naturally

sweet with the sweet-tart crunch of the berries. By that I mean, while there is added sugar, it is not a sweet sweet bite. The reason being that coconut water is a very mild flavor that can be easily overpowered by sugar. As it is, the sharpness of the raspberries really work beautifully with the subtlety of the young coconut and make for a lovely alternating bite of sharp and light. For that reason, I would recommend being not too heavy handed with the berries. I also use the cardamom to enhance the illusion of sweetness. Btw, it is a surprisingly good pairing with the coconut.

Raspberries in Coconut jelly
Raspberries in Coconut jelly

One Year Ago:

Raw Summer Slaw Salad with Green Yogurt Dressing

Two Years Ago: I was thinking raspberries then too!

Raspberry Icebox Cake

Three Years Ago:

Raisin and Almond Scones

Four Years Ago:

Cardamom Peach Buckle

Raspberries in Cardamom Coconut Jelly

{Notes: Like I had originally envisioned, I think this will make a striking presence in a taller stature. So, I would recommend either using a 5 inch mold or doubling the recipe and set it in two steps to create a double later}

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3 cups coconut water

1 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

a good 1/2 cup of raspberries

2 envelopes of gelatin

2 cardamom pods crushed

In a cup, bloom the gelatin in about 3/4 cup of coconut water. Set aside.

Boil the sugar and water and simmer until the sugar has dissolved. Add the gelatin with the coconut water and cardamom and mix thoroughly to remove all lumps. Add the remaining coconut water and stir to mix.

Sprinkle the raspberries on the base of the mold and pour the liquid on top.

Place in the fridge for about 4 hours or overnight to set the jelly.

To remove from mold, run a paring knife gently along the edge of the jelly tracing the natural curves of the mold. Meanwhile, warm a pot of water and pour in a bowl large enough to place the mold in.

Immerse the loosened jelly in mold in the warm water and let sit for 30 seconds. Place a plate on the lip of the mold and reverse. It should come out in one smooth motion. If it seems stuck, place in water again to loosen it more.

Slice and enjoy as is or with more fruits.