Sunday, 10 August 2014

Scottish Heather Honey and Raspberry Vodka Jellies

Scottish heather honey and raspberry vodka jelly with cream

Okay, this one probably needs a little bit of an introductory explanation. I recently had a conversation about food with a couple of 20-somethings in which I happened to mention Cranachan. I couldn't believe that neither of them had even heard of it! When I explained that it is a famous Scottish pudding/dessert made from whisky, cream, raspberries, honey and oatmeal, they told me that they would rather have vodka jellies!

A couple of days later, I came up with the idea of taking some of the ingredients from Cranachan and adapting them in to a version of vodka jellies. I looked around the Web for some "vodka jelly" inspiration and noticed that they are very often made with high sugar syrups and other ingredients that are not necessarily the healthiest in the world. I therefore deemed to make my creation hopefully at least a little bit more healthy. I hope this dish appeals to lovers of Cranachan and vodka jellies alike.

Scottish raspberry vodka jelly ingredients

Ingredients (Makes Two Servings)

*Leaf gelatine as required for half a pint (280ml) liquid plus half as much again
6 fluid ounces (170ml) peach flavoured sparkling spring water
16 or so Scottish raspberries (keep 2 for garnish)
4 fluid ounces (110ml) vodka
Small tub double/heavy cream (8 fluid ounces/230ml)
1 ginger snap biscuit (Graham crackers are probably closest in US - add a pinch of ground ginger)
4 teaspoons Scottish heather honey

*Alcohol in the vodka and citric acid in the raspberries means more gelatine is required to ensure setting

Gelatine leaves are soaked in cold water


The leaf gelatine I used meant it firstly had to be soaked in cold water for five minutes. Varieties vary however, so simply follow the instructions on the pack.

Scottish raspberries are carefully washed in a colander

The raspberries should be washed but remember they are an incredibly delicate fruit. Wash them in a colander but not under full blast running cold water or you probably will damage them - a gentle stream of water, swirling them around is fine.

Gelatine is added to warming peach water

Pour the peach water only in to a saucepan and gently heat. Once it is moderately warm, squeeze the water from the gelatine and add it to the pan. Be very careful not to let the mixture boil, or you will affect the setting capacity of the gelatine. Once the gelatine is fully melted, turn off the heat and leave for just a couple of minutes to cool slightly.

Vodka is added to peach water and gelatine

Pour the vodka in to the slightly cooled peach water and gelatine. Stir well with a wooden spoon. If you add the vodka when it is too hot, you risk evaporating the alcohol, which has a much lower boiling point than water. That's fine, of course - if you want alcohol free jellies...

Scottish raspberries are arranged in the base of serving dishes

Arrange about eight raspberries in the bottom of each of two serving glasses/dishes.

Vodka gelatine is carefully poured over raspberries

Slowly and gently pour the vodka liquid in to the dishes. Place in the fridge for a minimum of two hours to set completely. You can leave them overnight no problem if you want to do this main prep one night to serve them the next night.

Ginger snap ready to be crushed for garnishing

Break your ginger snap up in to a few pieces by hand and have your pestle and mortar ready.

Ginger snap is crushed with pestle and mortar

Crush the ginger snap pieces to a powder.

Cream is whisked with a balloon whisk

Pour the cream in to a bowl and beat with a balloon whisk until you get "soft peaks" forming. You can of course use an electric mixer but these things can so often over whip the cream and leave you with something approaching butter. The old way is definitely the best, giving you far greater control...

Scottish raspberry vodka jelly is set

Take your raspberry vodka jellies from the fridge. They should be completely set.

Cream is swirled over set raspberry vodka jelly

Use a dessert spoon to divide the cream evenly between the two set jellies.

Powdered ginger snap is scattered over cream

Scatter the crushed ginger snaps over the cream (and the surrounding jelly if you wish). You probably won't need all of the biscuit crumb.

Scottish heather honey is drizzled over raspberry vodka jellies

Drizzle two teaspoons of heather honey over the top of each cream/biscuit part of the jellies. Garnish each with a raspberry and serve.

Warning! - Remember that each of these little dishes contains the alcohol equivalent of at least a double vodka. Please be sensible and do not eat if you are driving or serve to anyone who is going to be driving.

A single raspberry provides final garnish on vodka jellies

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