The weather where I live these days is as confused as a cat stuck in a paper bag. It was hotter than July this past weekend, and then just above freezing today. The recipe I’m going to share with you today is perfect for days like these where the weather just can’t make up its mind. It is also perfect for those days when you crave for something sweet even when you have sworn off all things chocolate. This is the amazing result of one of my missions in life – combining the distinct flavours of sweet and spicy in desserts! It is incredibly refreshing with a touch of sweetness, without being rich and is warm in a way that perks your spirits right up! This Coconut Lychee Orange Jelly with Cardomom was a huge hit in my household and I’m sure it will be in yours too!
The first time I made this was for my parents. My dad isn’t a fan of chocolate (clearly that gene missed me), and my mum is lactose intolerant (missed me again but found my sister). I visited them in New Zealand early this year, just in time for my dad’s birthday and his one request for his birthday cake was for it to not be chocolate. I obliged him with this. A couple of days later I made this dessert for them and they both absolutely loved it! The flavours are indescribably refreshing and it’s the perfect follow-up to a warm, cozy meal.
And as a bonus, I have included simple instructions to turn these yummy desserts into raging, bloodshot eyes, in the spirit of Halloween and all things fun and spooky!
When I first conceived of this desert a few years ago, I wanted it to look bright and tempting. Lychee and Coconut are one of my favourite flavour combinations and I loved how I could create a bright, layered white jelly with these two ingredients. Plus this coconut lychee base is so adaptable, it goes very well with several other flavours. I have tried Mango, Raspberry and Passion fruit, but I have to say Orange was my favourite! And being true to myself, I added that hint of spice which completely elevated this dish! Two spices that go really well with Oranges in my opinion are Ginger and Cardamom. I have tried both in this dessert and they both work well. Having spent some of my formative years in Sri Lanka, cardamom is a spice that I understand well and I have to say the subtle warmth and the sweet, spicy flavour of cardamom edged it past Ginger for me. But please do not hesitate to try Ginger either. They both add a very subtle flavour that complements the fruity flavour of Orange rather than overpower it.
It did take me a few tries to get this one right though. Gelatin can be a little tricky to work with and I also wanted this dessert to have that “jiggly” consistency of Panna-cotta, but still be firm enough so I could unmould them.
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 cup lychee juice (strained from canned lychee)
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2½ tsp gelatin
- ¼ cup water
- 1 cup freshly squeezed Orange Juice (Strained through a fine sieve)
- 2 tbsp of sugar
- 4 cardamom pods
- 1¼ tsp gelatin
- 2 tbsp water
- If you are going to serve the dessert unmoulded, lightly oil the serving dishes. I used 10 x 2.5 oz / 70 ml silicone hemisphere cavities to set the jelly.
- Gently crush the cardamom pods (to open the pods, not to crush the seeds) and place them in a saucepan with the orange juice and sugar.
- Heat the mix and stir until the sugar is dissolved and you can see the mix steaming (but not boiling)
- Remove from heat and let it sit for about 30 minutes to infuse the cardamom flavour.
- Meanwhile for the orange cardamom jelly - place the 2 tbsp of water in a bowl and sprinkle the 1¼ tsp of gelatin evenly into the water and leave it to bloom for at least 15 minutes.
- Strain the cardamom infused orange juice back into the saucepan and add the bloomed gelatin.
- On very low heat stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved. DO NOT BOIL.
- Leave the juice to cool to room temperature.
- For the coconut lychee jelly - place the ¼ cup water in a bowl and sprinkle the 2½ tsp of gelatin on it and leave it to bloom for at least 15 minutes.
- Add the gelatin, coconut milk, lychee juice and sugar into a saucepan and gently heat until the gelatin is dissolved. DO NOT BOIL.
- Leave the mixture to cool to room temperature.
- Pour about 1½ tbsp (about 25 ml) of the orange juice into the cavities and refrigerate for about 20 - 30 minutes until the layer is just set. (The layer will be set, but when you touch it it will still be sticky.)
- Pour the coconut lychee mix into the moulds (gently), all the way to the top. NOTE - make sure you always stir the juice before pouring as the coconut and lychee layers tend to separate.
- Place them back in the fridge and allow them to set completely for a few hours.
- Unmould the jelly by loosening the edges with a sharp point.
- ¼ cup Orange Juice
- 1 packet gelatin (2¼ tsp gelatin)
- Food colouring
- Bloom the gelatin in the orange juice for about 15 minutes.
- On very low heat gently heat the bloomed gelatin until it is dissolved.
- Separate the gelatin liquid into smaller dishes and add the colour you want.
- Leave till its just warm enough (if left to cool to room temperature it will start to solidify)
After you unmould the jelly, use the black paint to colour a small circle at the top of the mould. This will be the pupil of the eye. Draw red lines radiating out from the middle to resemble a bloody iris. I have drawn some simple lines here but really, you can let your creative streak run wild with this. It will be a whole lot of fun too! When you’re done, keep it in the fridge until you are ready to serve (it will only take a few minutes to set as the jelly will be cold).
This is a versatile dessert and it’s great for any kind of occasion – cocktail parties, kids’ parties, garden parties and with a couple of creative modifications even for Halloween parties!
And don’t you just love how they look? That bright and opaque white layer at the bottom, and then the slightly more translucent white layer over that which is topped with an even more translucent layer of refreshingly sweet orange juice! That creamy freshness of Lychee and coconut paired with the citrusy sweetness of orange juice and the warm, spicy hints of cardamom make for a truly decadent and delightful dessert!
You can make these in small serving glasses with the coconut lychee layer at the bottom topped with a thinner layer of orange cardamom so that it can be served straight in the glass. Or for family parties, you can just as easily pour the jelly into a large serving dish, instead of making individual portions. So why wait till the weekend? Go ahead and make this today! What’s your favourite Jelly flavour?
I will be submitting this recipe to Foodie Fridays and Fiesta Fridays this week, where I will no doubt see some truly awesome recipes that I will be saving up for later.