Recipes

Jell-O Showdown: Scented English Creams

Not satisfied with competing in the art of making stuffing, the Chow Bella staff is at it again. This showdown is all about Jell-O. So far we've brought you Sparkling Grapefruit Pie and Berry Good Holiday Pie, and Jell-O shooters. Today we head to the UK for some inspiration in the form of scented English creams.

Jello!? We can handle any recipe that involves frying, braising, slow-cooking, stir-frying, sautéing, marinading, chopping, kitchen torching and simmering, but dear lord what are we supposed to do with Jell-O. That's what we were thinking when we received this showdown's mission plan.

Unwilling to shy away from a challenge, we called in the big guns for some inspiration: Jamie Oliver. That's right, the Naked Chef has a recipe that involves Jell-O (or at least gelatin).

The idea behind Scented English Creams (at least as near as we can tell) is to concoct a milk pudding that incorporates a heavy main ingredient to flavor the pudding and a sub-ingredient that creates a mouth-watering aroma for the dessert. We opted for a strawberry jam pudding flavored with star anise and (because Mr. Oliver suggested it) a basil-flavored pudding.

The original recipe calls for sheet gelatin which is incredibly difficult to find in this country. Instead, we used a few packets of Knox gelatin. Also, not having several dozen pudding molds, we opted to use muffin tins instead.

Scented English Creams

Ingredients - 2.5 cups of whole milk - 1 cup of heavy cream -.5 cups sugar - two packets of Knox gelatin - fresh basil - .75 cups of strawberry jam - whole star anise - cooking spray

Directions - To start, combine the milk, cream and sugar together in a large pot over medium heat. Make sure the sugar is dissolved. This is your base.

- For the basil version, remove the leaves from the stems of a small bunch of basil and reserve them. Give the stems a smash and toss those into the pudding base and bring it to a simmer. Remove the base from the heat for ten minutes to let the flavors meld. Put it back on high heat and add the basil leaves. Bring to a boil. Add two packets of gelatin and whisk it to dissolve. Pour this through a strainer to remove the basil bits. Transfer the strained liquid into muffin tins lightly coated with cooking spray. Refrigerate this for at least four hours but preferably over night.

- For the strawberry version, add 5 whole star anise to the base and bring it to a simmer. boil. Remove the base from the heat for ten minutes to let the flavors meld. Put it back on high heat and bring to a boil. Add two packets of gelatin and whisk it to dissolve. Discard the star anise and remove the base from the heat until it reaches room temperature. Meanwhile run a fork through the strawberry jam in a large bowl to loosen it up. Add the base (at room temperature) to the jam and whisk to combine. Transfer the liquid into muffin tins lightly coated with cooking spray. Refrigerate this for at least four hours but preferably over night.

- To pop them out of the tins, run a knife around the edge of the puddings then turn them upside down (preferably on to plates as eating pudding from the floor is most unattractive).

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Jonathan McNamara