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(Repost from October 2010)

Like many pop-culture junkies of my generation, I never get tired of watching “The Big Lebowski.” The 1998 Ethan and Joel Coen film has spawned multiple books, an annual festival, academic works, and even a religion called “dudeism.” The main character in the movie (“The Dude”) drinks White Russians, so when I made this White Russian gelatin mold for our friend Lynn’s birthday, the name seemed obvious.

White Russians consist of coffee-flavored liqueur, vodka, and cream. To create this gelatin mold, I used my basic panna cotta recipe (minus vanilla bean) and added vodka and Kahlúa. I also created a version with sweetened condensed milk (see below). Personally, I preferred the less sweet panna cotta version, but several of my friends liked the sweetened condensed milk more. Both versions tasted like a White Russian ordered at a bar.

The molds seen here are especially fantastic. I purchased the star mold at my favorite Austin vintage store (Room Service Vintage), and my friend Christie purchased the flower mold at a Tulsa estate sale.

Recipe (panna cotta version) approx 3 cups

  • 1 packet Knox gelatin
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 ¾ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup Kahlúa
  • ½ cup vodka

Sprinkle the packet of gelatin on top of ¼ cup milk. Set aside for 5 minutes. In a small saucepan heat up cream and sugar (do not boil). Once sugar dissolves, pour cream over the bloomed gelatin and milk. Stir until gelatin dissolves. Stir in Kahlúa and vodka, and spoon into mold(s). Refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours.

Recipe (sweetened condensed milk version) 5.25 cups

  • 3 packets Knox gelatin
  • 1 cup water (for blooming)
  • ¾ cup water (for heating)
  • 1 cup vodka
  • ½ cup Kahlúa
  • 2 cups sweetened condensed milk

Sprinkle the gelatin on top of 1 cup of water. Set aside for 5 minutes. In a small saucepan heat up ¾ cup of water and vodka (do not boil). Once heated, pour water and vodka over the bloomed gelatin. Stir until gelatin dissolves. Stir in sweetened condensed milk and Kahlúa, and spoon into mold(s). Refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours.

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I’m crazy about Conan. In honor of his new show starting tonight on TBS, I created the Conan O’Brien gelatin mold. Inspired by a traditional Irish Coffee, the Conan involves a cream layer on top of a coffee and Jameson’s Irish Whiskey base. I wasn’t sure how the coffee/whiskey base would taste in gelatinous form, but it was surprisingly delicious. And boozy. If whiskey isn’t your thing, you can substitute it with various liquors such as Bailey’s Irish Cream, Amaretto, Frangelico, Grand Marnier, or brandy.

Recipe for 3.5 cups

Top layer

  • 1 packet gelatin
  • 1 cup water (½ cup for blooming gelatin, ½ cup for boiling)
  • ¾ cup sweetened condensed milk

Bottom layer

  • 1 packet Knox gelatin
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 cup freshly brewed coffee
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (or to taste)
  • ¼ cup Jameson’s Irish Whiskey

Top layer:

Put ½ cup of water in a bowl and sprinkle the gelatin on top. Set bowl aside. Bring ½ cup water to boil and remove from heat. Pour hot water over bloomed gelatin, stir until fully dissolved. Stir in sweetened condensed milk. Pour mixture into mold(s) and put in refrigerator.

Bottom layer:

Put ¼ cup water in bowl and sprinkle the gelatin on top. Set bowl aside. Put freshly brewed coffee in a sauce pan over low heat, and stir in sugar. Once sugar is dissolved, add coffee over the bloomed gelatin and stir until gelatin is dissolved. Stir in whiskey.

When the cream layer is almost set – some gelatin should stick to your fingers when lightly touched – pour the coffee layer into the mold(s). Put in refrigerator until set, at least 4 hours.

Needless to say, Halloween is a fantastic time of year for gelatin molds. My goal was to create tasty (but disgusting looking) desserts from scratch using no food coloring. Overwhelmed with yummy/revolting possibilities, I only had time and money to pull off a few. Except for the Bloody Mary heart (which tasted bland), these were a hit at parties. I can’t wait for next year…

Raspberry Cream with Cognac and Raspberry Syrup

Recipe for 5.25 cups

  • 3 packets Knox gelatin
  • 1 cup water (for blooming gelatin)
  • 1 ½ cup water (for boiling)
  • 1 cup puréed fresh raspberries, seeds strained (approx. 2 cup whole)
  • 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • ¼ cup cognac

Put 1 cup of water in a large bowl and sprinkle  gelatin on top.  Set aside. Put water in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a low boil. Remove from heat and add to the bloomed gelatin. Stir until gelatin dissolves. Stir in raspberry purée, sweetened condensed milk, and cognac. Pour into mold(s). Put in refrigerator until set, at least 4 hours.

Raspberry Syrup (adapted from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman)

  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1 ½ teaspoon cornstarch
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water

Combine raspberries, cornstarch, sugar, and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until syrup thickens. Strain. Spoon over set gelatin mold.

Zombie Matt (artist and future gelatin mold collaborator) enjoyed the boozy brains.

Here is the first installment of my Halloween gelatin molds – I’m having way too much fun! I found these great Halloween molds on ebay

Bloody Mary Heart

Recipe for 2 cups

  • 1 packet Knox gelatin
  • ¼ cup water
  • Juice of ½ lemon (zest reserved)
  • 1 ¼ cups tomato juice
  • ½ cup vodka
  • 1 ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 dashes tabasco sauce

Put 1/2 cup of vodka in a small bowl and sprinkle the packet of gelatin on top. Set bowl aside. Put water and lemon juice a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a low boil. Remove from heat and add lemon zest. Let stew for 10-minutes. Strain and add to the vodka and gelatin. Stir until gelatin dissolves. Stir tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce and tabasco sauce. Pour into mold(s). Refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours.

Riga Mortis Hand – Blackberry and cream with crème de mûre

Recipe for 4 cups

  • 2 and ¼ packets Knox gelatin
  • ½ cup water (for blooming gelatin)
  • 1 cup water
  • ¾ cup puréed fresh blackberries, seeds strained (approx. 1 ½ cup whole)
  • 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • ¼ cup crème de mûre
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla

For blooming, put ½ cup of water in a large bowl and sprinkle  gelatin on top.  Set bowl aside. Put water in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a low boil. Remove from heat and add to the bloomed gelatin. Stir until gelatin dissolves. Stir in blackberry purée, sweetened condensed milk, crème de mûre, and vanilla. Pour into mold(s). Put in refrigerator until set, at least 4 hours

Like many pop-culture junkies of my generation, I never get tired of watching “The Big Lebowski.” The 1998 Ethan and Joel Coen film has spawned multiple books, an annual festival, academic works, and even a religion called “dudeism.” The main character in the movie (“The Dude”) drinks White Russians, so when I made this White Russian gelatin mold for our friend Lynn’s birthday, the name seemed obvious.

White Russians consist of coffee-flavored liqueur, vodka, and cream. To create this gelatin mold, I used my basic panna cotta recipe (minus vanilla bean) and added vodka and Kahlúa. I also created a version with sweetened condensed milk (see below). Personally, I preferred the less sweet panna cotta version, but several of my friends liked the sweetened condensed milk more. Both versions tasted like a White Russian ordered at a bar.

The molds seen here are especially fantastic. I purchased the star mold at my favorite Austin vintage store (Room Service Vintage), and my friend Christie purchased the flower mold at a Tulsa estate sale.

Recipe (panna cotta version) approx 3 cups

  • 1 packet Knox gelatin
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 ¾ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup Kahlúa
  • ½ cup vodka

Sprinkle the packet of gelatin on top of ¼ cup milk. Set aside for 5 minutes. In a small saucepan heat up cream and sugar (do not boil). Once sugar dissolves, pour cream over the bloomed gelatin and milk. Stir until gelatin dissolves. Stir in Kahlúa and vodka, and spoon into mold(s). Refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours.

Recipe (sweetened condensed milk version) 5.25 cups

  • 3 packets Knox gelatin
  • 1 cup water (for blooming)
  • ¾ cup water (for heating)
  • 1 cup vodka
  • ½ cup Kahlúa
  • 2 cups sweetened condensed milk

Sprinkle the gelatin on top of 1 cup of water. Set aside for 5 minutes. In a small saucepan heat up ¾ cup of water and vodka (do not boil). Once heated, pour water and vodka over the bloomed gelatin. Stir until gelatin dissolves. Stir in sweetened condensed milk and Kahlúa, and spoon into mold(s). Refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours.

Of all the berries I know, blackberries are my favorite. I adore their dark, rich, and sweet taste. This mold was inspired by the yummy blackberry and orange gelato made at my favorite hang out, Dolce Vita.

The merger of blackberries and oranges creates a clean and crisp flavor, while the addition of sweetened condensed milk and rum completes the citrus, berry, creamy, boozy experience.

To create this mold, I dissolved bloomed gelatin into heated water and freshly squeezed orange juice, then stirred in fresh puréed  blackberries (seeds strained), rum, sweetened condensed milk, and a touch of vanilla.

See my recipe featured in Readers’ Recipes: The New York Times Magazine.

I’ll never forget the first bing cherry I ate. In 1992, after moving from Oklahoma to California, I attended a cookout with friends from my new high school. Along with the garden burgers and hot dogs was a bag of fresh cherries. I found it odd to see cherries eaten out of a produce bag, not immersed in syrup. Always the adventurous eater, I tried a fresh cherry and immediately fell in love with the intricate flavors that barely resembled the sticky sweet  cherries of my youth. Every summer since I’ve anticipated their seasonal purchase and consumption.

This gelatin consists of cherry juice, cherries, and rum on top; sweetened condensed milk, almond extract, and cherry juice on bottom. The cherry/almond/rum combination is sweet and lovely.

Recipe

Top layer

  • 2 cups 100% black cherry juice (I always prefer 100% juices to blends, but if using a blend, you may want to adjust the sugar)
  • ½ cup sugar (or to taste)
  • 2 packets gelatin
  • ¾ cup cold water
  • ¾ cup cold rum
  • 1 cup pitted and halved cherries (thoroughly washed and dried)

Bottom layer

  • One 14oz can sweetened condensed milk (cold)
  • 1 ¾ cup water
  • ¼ cup cherry juice (optional – gives the bottom a pink color. Use 2-cups water for a white bottom layer)
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
  • 2 packets gelatin

Read the rest of this entry »

See this mold mentioned here in The Globe and Mail, and here at Apartment Therapy The Kitchn.

I love figs and I love cardamon, but I never thought of combining them until I read this fantastic article about simple syrups by Addie Broyles in the Austin American Statesmen. The article describes perking up summer drinks with simple syrups, but I immediately transferred the concept to gelatin molds. This mold was made with sweetened condensed milk, rum, and fig and cardamom syrup. Fruity, spicy, and boozy – this may be my favorite gelatinous experiment to date. My friends enjoyed pouring additional fig and cardamom syrup on the creamy mold – yum! We also enjoyed eating the cardamom and sugar soaked figs.

To make a fig and cardamom simple syrup, combine 1-cup water with 1-cup sugar in a saucepan and bring to a low boil. When the sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and add 1-cup dried figs and 2-Tbsp. whole cardamom pods. Cover pan and let sit overnight. In the morning strain the syrup and store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

Recipe for 3.5 cups

  • 2 packets Knox gelatin
  • ½ cup water (for blooming)
  • ¼ cup fig and cardamom syrup (see above)
  • ¼ cup rum (I used white rum, but any would do)
  • 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk

Sprinkle two packets of gelatin on top of ½ cup water. Set aside for 5 minutes.

In a small saucepan heat up rum and the previously prepared fig and cardamom syrup, but do not boil. Once heated, pour over the bloomed gelatin. Stir until gelatin dissolves. Stir in sweetened condensed milk, and then spoon into mold(s). Refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours.

Inspired by my South Asian friends, I made these alcohol-free chai latte molds. (The picture is of a 8oz individual mold.) The chai was made from scratch using this recipe from Real Simple. Instead of adding milk and sugar, I used sweetened condensed milk. And gelatin, of course. The result was a sweet and creamy mouthful of spices.

Now, what alcohol goes with chai lattes? Hmmm…

The Cooking Channel blog, Devour, featured this mold. So exciting!

Inspired by my love of blueberries, this creamy gelatin consists of 100% blueberry juice, vodka, sugar, and blueberries on top; sweetened condensed milk and blueberry juice on bottom. The intense dark blue of the top layer is naturally lovely – and delicious. I used a set of small vintage molds found at an Austin antique mall.  Finding vintage molds is just as fun as making the gelatin itself!

Recipe for 6-cups

Top layer

  • 2 cups 100% blueberry juice (100% blueberry juice is expensive but worth it – blueberry blends don’t result in the same flavor or intense dark blue color)
  • ½ cup sugar (or to taste)
  • 2 packets gelatin
  • ¾ cup cold water
  • ¾ cup cold vodka
  • 1 cup blueberries (thoroughly washed and dried)

Bottom layer

  • One 14oz can sweetened condensed milk (cold)
  • 1 ¾ cup water
  • ¼ cup blueberry juice (optional – gives the bottom a light blue/purple color. Use 2-cups water for a white bottom layer)
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
  • 2 packets gelatin

Top layer: Put blueberry juice and sugar in saucepan over medium heat and bring to a low boil. Once sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and add gelatin. Stir until gelatin is fully dissolved (approx. 2 minutes). Transfer liquid to a bowl and stir in cold water and vodka. Put bowl in refrigerator.

Bottom layer: Bring water and blueberry juice to a boil and remove from heat. Add vanilla (if using) and gelatin, stir until fully dissolved. Transfer liquid to a bowl and stir in sweetened condensed milk. Put bowl in refrigerator.

Once the blueberry gelatin has thickened to a soft gel consistency (it should be easy to stir but thick enough to suspend the berries), stir in berries, and spoon mixture into mold(s). Put in refrigerator until almost set – some gelatin should stick to your fingers when lightly touched. When the blueberry layer is almost set, spoon the creamy layer into the mold(s).

Put in refrigerator until set, at least 4 hours.

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