I hope everyone had a fun holiday - we certainly did! We grilled and played games (these ones to be precise) and watched Jaws (the original, duh). My special contribution (because there always has to be one) was this gorgeous gelatin mold with champagne and fresh berries. It is light, refreshing, not too strong, and totally gorgeous. It looks really impressive, but it's actually pretty easy to make!
The base is sparkling wine (I used Prosecco), peach schnapps, plain gelatin, and a little sugar. I'm trying to be really accurate in my title here, so I had to change it from "Champagne Jello Mold", which was my first instinct. Jello isn't even a real word! It's Jell-o, a brand name that got appropriated to mean all gelatin (like Popsicle or Coke, if you live in the south).
Anywho, to make the berries float in their own layers you add the base in three batches, adding the berries when the gelatin is the consistency of egg whites, and adding the next layer of gelatin when the first is firm but sticky to the touch.
It sounds confusing, but you will get the hang of it. You want the gelatin to be thick enough to hold the berries in suspension, or they will sink right to the bottom of the layer. And you want the first layer to be firm before you add the next or they will mix together. The reason yo need the surface to still be sticky when you add the next layer is so that it will bond with the next layer and not split apart later.
Now you know how to wow all your friends with minimal effort. The hardest part is waiting for the layers to set up. Also, I didn't read the recipe properly at first and didn't realize it was for a mini bundt, oops! So I made some last minute adjustments to make it fit a regular sized bundt pan.
Did you think I was done? I also made some Red, White, and Blue Jell-O Shots (which I can call that because they actually contain Jell-O) with whipped cream vodka - delicious! You make these with the same technique as the ring mold - wait for one layer to be firm but sticky before adding the next. You can use this same method to make any color combo you like, matching a favorite sports team, for example.
Red, White, and Blue Sparkling Wine Gelatin Mold
adapted from Jelly Shot Test Kitchen
1 750ml bottle of sparkling wine
5 tbsp sugar
5 envelopes Knox gelatin (that's more than one box, sorry)
3/4 cup peach schnapps
1 small container fresh blueberries
1 container fresh strawberries, sliced w/ tips intact
Lightly spray a regular sized bundt pan with cooking spray, then wipe off the excess with a paper towel. This should leave just enough to help unmold your gelatin, without affecting the taste or appearance.
Pour 1.5 cups of the sparkling wine and all of the sugar into a medium saucepan. Sprinkle with the gelatin allow to soak for a minute or two. Heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until the gelatin is dissolved (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat. Stir in the rest of the sparkling wine and the schnapps.
Pour 1 cup of the gelatin mixture into the prepared mold. Refrigerate until the gelatin is the consistency of egg whites (about 15 minutes). Add the tips of the strawberries and push down gently to submerge them in the gelatin. Return to the refrigerator until the gelatin is set, but sticky to the touch (about 5 minutes). Add another cup of gelatin mixture and let thicken (about 10 minutes) before stirring in the blueberries. Return to the refrigerator for another 5 minutes, then layer the sliced strawberries on top of the blueberry/gelatin layer. Gently pour the remaining gelatin mixture over the strawberries. Refrigerate until fully set (several hours or overnight).
To unmold, fill a larger container or clean sink with warm water (not too hot!). With clean fingers, loosen the gelatin around the edges of the mold. Next, dip the mold almost to the edge into the warm water for 10 seconds. Dry the bottom of the mold with a towel. Place your serving plate on top of the mold and invert. The gelatin should pop out. If not, return the mold to the warm water bath and repeat.
Red, White, and Blue Jell-O Shots
a Well Dined original
makes 25 2-inch cubes
3oz box berry blue Jell-O
3oz box strawberry Jell-O
6 packets of plain gelatin
3 cups water
2 1/2 cups whipped cream flavored vodka (very cold)
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
Lightly spray a 10x10 inch square cake pan with cooking spray, then wipe out with a paper towel. This leaves just enough to allow it to unmold really well.
Pour the gelatin mixes into 2 separate heat safe bowls.
Pour the water into a medium saucepan. Sprinkle with the 6 envelopes of plain gelatin. Allow to soak for a minute or two. Heat over medium low heat, stirring constantly, until the gelatin is fully dissolved (about 5 minutes).
Pour one cup of the plain gelatin mixture into each bowl containing the gelatin mix. Stir for two minutes, or until the gelatin is dissolved. It is best to do this one at a time, but if you want to do both at once, just make sure that you are alternating stirring and really dissolving each. Add one cup of the vodka to each bowl, stir well, and set aside.
Pour the sweetened condensed milk into the pan with the remaining 1 cup of gelatin mixture and stir to combine completely. Add 1/2 cup of the vodka and stir well to combine. (I also like to add a drop of sweetened condensed milk to the colored jello mixtures to make them opaque. You must stir it briskly while adding to make sure that it combines completely and doesn't leave flakes.)
Pour the red gelatin mixture into the prepared pan and place in the refrigerator until set but still sticky to the touch, about 30 min. Repeat with the white layer, then the blue, keeping in mind that these layers will set up faster than the first (about 20 minutes).
Cover with plastic wrap and allow to set overnight. To unmold - run a spatula or clean fingers along the edge. Dip the pan into warm (not hot) water for 10 seconds, then invert on to a plate. If it doesn't release, dip in the water for another 10 seconds. Cut into squares and keep cold until served.