Coffee Jelly: Quick or Long Method

2015-07-04 13.11.33On our recent trip to Croatia, we stopped by Shizuku Japanese Cuisine for lunch and had some really incredible sushi, but more importantly, we enjoyed the most refreshing dessert. We were on holiday after all.

It was a scoop of vanilla ice cream over coffee jelly.

I had never heard of such a thing and was intrigued. It was actually the first thing I saw on the menu and seriously considered ordering dessert first.

Coffee Jelly, I found out, is a popular Japanese treat that was developed during the Taisho period (1912-1926) and is typically served in coffee, milkshakes, or mixed with condensed milk. It’s even often found in public school lunches! These lucky kids are getting one hell of an introduction to coffee when I waited until I was in my late 20s to even give it a try.

I found two recipes to experiment with that had two different methods of cooking. The first method I came across relied on a freshly brewed cup of hot coffee and also the whisking power of a fork. Needless to say, it was an absolute failure.

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First, you dissolve the gelatin in three tablespoons of warm water and whisk quickly. Pour the gelatinous mixture in your two cups of coffee, stir, and pop it in the fridge for 5 hours.

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My first attempt was still just liquid after thirteen hours. I finally gave up the ghost and tried the other method I found.

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It was a different approach using the stove top and a stopwatch. I put the water and gelatin in a saucepan and whisked into submission.

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When I saw only tiny clumps of formed jelly, I let it sit and come to a boil. Once it’s rolling, I brought the heat down to a simmer and added the sugar and instant coffee. I, again, whisked like crazy and let it sit for two minutes. Then I removed it from the heat for five to cool. Next was the big chill and after five hours, voila! Coffee Jelly!

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* * * * *

Because I was determined to figure out the first recipe, I gave it another go. I also had the remaining gelatin packet ready to use since they typically come in a multi-pack.

What I changed this time was boiling the brewed coffee to match the rolling boil of the second method. Don’t let the two cups of coffee sit for too long since we all know how fast a hot cup of coffee turns into a cold cup of coffee. I also used a bigger bowl and whisked it into a sweat instead of casually. Lo and behold, it wound up working.

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Lesson of this week’s experiment: whisk like crazy, and make sure your coffee is hot!

When using brewed coffee, the taste is much more subtle and soft. It’s actually quite elegant. And when the first recipe actually worked, it has a murky look to it, almost like a muddy lake. But it’s a nice, refreshing taste.

The second recipe using instant coffee hit me over the head with a sledgehammer. In my recipe below, I brought the amount of coffee down, and it was much better. It’s almost like a gasoline hit rather than an elegant coffee dessert. When serving, I did pair it with a little vanilla ice cream which cut the acidity, but even ice cream couldn’t fully take the edge off the diesel fuel.

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In the future, I will try adding a half cup of almond milk for a latte version taking out about a half cup of water/coffee to balance. But also, I plan on trying an adaptation using alcohol with the luck of the Irish. Stay tuned.

Check out the two recipes I used below with my adaptations and do your own experimentation with this Japanese delicacy!

* * * * *

Here is the first recipe from I Love Coffee.Jp. This was the “quick” method. Well, at least quicker.

Coffee Jelly
makes 4 servings

Ingredients:
1 package of gelatin
3 tbsp hot water
2-3 tbsp sugar
2 cups of black coffee

1) Dissolve the gelatin in the 3 tbsp of hot water and whisk like crazy. I recommend doing this 2015-07-23 11.00.39in a bigger bowl with a proper whisk rather than using smaller bowls and forks.
2) After a few moments of whisking, pour the hot coffee into the gelatin mixture, and whisk like crazy again.
3) Once it’s all been dissolved (about 2 minutes), pour the liquid into your serving cups and scoop out the air bubbles. Put in the refrigerator for 4-5 hours. You should know in one if it will work, but it’s best to let it set completely. If after an hour, it’s still liquid, chances are it won’t work, and you’ll have to start over.

* * * * *

Here is the link to the second recipe I tried from Just One Cookbook with my adaptations.

Coffee Jelly
makes 4 servings

Ingredients:
2.5 cups of water
1 package of gelatin
5 tbsp of sugar
1.5 tbsp of instant coffee

1) Grab a saucepan and heat the water on medium. Pour in the gelatin and whisk like mad. Once dissolved (to the best of your ability), let it sit and come to a boil.
2) Once it’s boiling, bring it down to a simmer and pour in the sugar and instant coffee. Whisk again for about one minute until completely dissolved. Let it sit and simmer for two minutes.
3) After the two minutes, take it off the heat and let it sit for five minutes. Prepare your bowl or cups to store it.
4) Pour the gelatin mixture into your cups and remove the air bubbles. Put it in the refrigerator for 4-5 hours. Like the above recipe, after one hour you should know if it will work or not.

 

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