Brixton Recipe: Coffee Jelly

coffee jelly

If you made the sweet potato pie from this month’s Bugle, you’re probably thanking me for making sweet potatoes so interesting and cursing me for leaving you with half a tin of evaporated milk to litter up your fridge.

If you’re old school or simply nostalgic, you could pour it over tinned fruit while watching Sunday night telly in your pyjamas or you could try a grown up version of one of my favourite childhood desserts with an evaporated milk jelly.

Also known as frothy jelly, you simply whisk chilled evaporated milk and add it to the jelly of your choice and you get a fantastic light mousse like dessert. I’ve been inspired by the Japanese obsession of coffee jelly for a caffeine hit here but you could use any packet version or follow the recipe using fruit juice instead. Either way you get to use up that evap in style…

Evaporated Milk Coffee Jelly (serves 2)

  • 375ml strong coffee
  • 25g brown sugar
  • 1 sachet powdered gelatine or 3 sheets leaf gelatine
  • 200ml or 1/2 tin evaporated milk, chilled

Begin by preparing your gelatine if you are using the leaf version. This is what I had because that’s what the A&C (sob) sold and because I prefer the lighter set it gives to your jelly. It needs to be soaked in cold water for 5 minutes before use to soften it up.

While the gelatine soaks, make your coffee. I used three heaped teaspoons of that fancy ‘barista style’ instant stuff to 375ml boiling water in a saucepan.

Keep it on the heat so that it just bubbles round the edge and add the soaked gelatine sheets or sprinkle the powdered stuff over the top of the hot coffee. Gelatine needs heat to activate it so allow it to warm through properly without boiling and add the sugar, stirring well to dissolve it.

Take it off the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes before pouring some of the jelly into the bottom of your serving glasses. Allow the glasses to chill in the fridge so they set quickly.

Leave the rest of the jelly in a bowl or jug in fridge to cool further but don’t let it set more than it just starting to thicken and look gloopy. This took about 30 minutes for me.

Pour your chilled evaporated milk into a large bowl and with an electric whisk, beat it for about 2-3 minutes on a high speed. It will look vaguely thickened for ages and then just as you give up and think nothing will happen, it magically turns into a billowing bubbly mousse like texture.

At this point, add the remaining thickened jelly to it as you keep beating. Whisk for another minute and then pour the mixture over the previously set jelly so you have two separate layers.

Chill it all in the fridge for at least an hour. It will magically set like a mousse on top and like a milky coffee layer in the middle to give you three varieties of coffee and jelly to caffeinate yourself with while using a spoon.

Don’t make it more than 3 or 4 hours in advance though or your mousse will lose its volume. Let me know what other inspirations for flavours you have and if you ever find agar crystals to try making a vegetarian jelly.