Around Christmas time, I have noticed that I tend to gravitate towards rubied red items. And this one has been a long time in the making. When we were small, my mother had a very, very thick cookbook tome full of all sorts of retro delights as well as classic dishes. Even when young, we'd be fascinated by these dishes. My mother would rarely cook them as my Father would only eat food from his Mother country and my sister and I would be left to flick through the glossy thick book, the spine wearing away to nothing but cotton threads from many trips on and off the bookshelf.
The one items I always looked at longingly was a huge Cherries Jubilee set in a jelly mould (this was probably a nod to retro where everything was jellified). My father at the time worked for Davis Gelatine yet it was wasted on me as I didn't like jelly at all. They'd always try and ply us with the company dessert only to have me turning my nose at it. Until I married a jelly freak. If you've ever wondered who buys those freakishly blue tubs of jelly from the supermarket may I offer you my husband.
I saw a similar jelly in a picture in a while back and showed it to my husband. His eyes widened in anticipation and I knew that he would appreciate this.The timing was right, it was close to Christmas and for those of you who want to use real cherries, they're in season now in Australia. You could eliminate all of the palaver with the 20 gelatine sheets by buying the required 5 packets of cherry jelly (and why not if you're busy).
Festive Cherry Jelly
An original recipe by Not Quite Nigella
1 decorative jelly or Bundt cake tin with a 10 cup capacity (or thereabouts, you can just adjust quantities)
20 sheets leaf gelatine
375g bottle of sour cherries (juice reserved-about 1 cup) or 500g fresh cherries pitted
1 cup undiluted cherry or berry flavoured cordial (2 cups if you're using fresh cherries as you won't have the juice from the jar)
6 cups of cold water
2 cups of recently boiled water
1 tablespoon caster sugar
Vanilla bean paste
Step 1 - Soak leaf gelatine sheets in cold water until pliable.
Step 2 - In a large bowl, place the 2 cups of hot water and remove soft gelatine sheets and stir in water until dissolved. Then add 6 cups of cold water, 1 cup of reserved cherry juice (if using jarred cherries) and cordial.
Step 3 - Spray the tin with a non stick oil spray just in case (I don't know if it's necessary as it's a non stick tin but I'm superstitious). Then pour in a small amount of the jelly mixture into the bottom just to give it a small coat of jelly. Place in fridge to set. Then scatter some cherries on top and add another layer of jelly to fill it up a third of the way. Repeat another two times so that the cherries are evenly distributed.
Step 4 - Whip cream until soft, then add cream and vanilla and serve alongside the jelly.