Gelatin molds are such pretty things, glistening like jewels as they wibble and wobble on their way to the table. Often regarded as children’s fare, gelatin made from scratch can easily be transformed into an elegant, adult dessert. Far from the garishly colored, sugar-laden gelatin of childhood, this Orange Gelatin with Whipped Cream and Candied Ginger is smooth, naturally flavored, and downright beautiful.
Orange gelatin is often a favorite, thanks to its vivid color and fruity flavor. When made with freshly squeezed orange juice, the cloying sweetness is gone and in its place is pure orange flavor that smells of just-peeled oranges. The process is simple and you only need three ingredients: orange juice, gelatin powder, and boiling water.
The recipe rises and falls with the juice you use. This is not the time for concentrate or bottled orange juice, both of which can have a sourness that you do not want in a dessert. Gelatin should be clear and fresh with the true essential fruit flavor.
Choose the type of orange you want to use. Step beyond the traditional Navel orange and try mandarins, clementines, Valencia, Saville, or blood oranges. They all have their unique flavor and colors. If you have time, juice several types and layer them into your mold for a rainbow of orange colors and flavors. Just be sure to let each layer set before you add another.
Juice your fruit right before you’re ready to use it. Be sure to strain it through a fine mesh strainer before using so you don’t get pieces of pith or pulp clouding your gelatin.
Pour half the strained orange juice into a medium-size bowl and sprinkle the gelatin powder over the surface. Whisk the gelatin into the juice, continuing to stir until the mixture begins to thicken.
Bring your water to the boil right before you’re ready to use it, then let it cool just so that it stops bubbling. Add the water to the gelatin and juice mixture, stirring well until the gelatin completely dissolves.
Add the rest of the juice and stir well.
Pour the gelatin into the mold of your choosing. You can use beautifully-shaped gelatin molds or just a cut glass dish or a pretty wine glass. If you’re using a dish or glass, leave a half inch of space at the top so you can decorate it with whipped cream and garnishes.
Some people like to spray their gelatin molds with vegetable oil to prevent sticking, but this is not necessary. When the orange gelatin is set and you’re ready to serve, simply set the mold in hot water for a few seconds. This will melt the surface of the gelatin enough for you to easily slide it onto a serving platter.
Real whipped cream is marvelous with orange gelatin, for it brings to mind the taste of creamsicles with their brilliant orange and cream combination. Top the cream with chopped candied ginger and you’re all set to spoon up luscious mouthfuls of this delicious dessert.
Orange Gelatin with Whipped Cream and Candied Ginger
- 1 cup freshly squeezed and strained orange juice
- 2 teaspoons gelatin powder
- 3 tablespoons just-boiled water
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2-3 tablespoons candied ginger, chopped fine
Put half a cup of juice into a medium-size bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over juice and whisk briskly until mixture begins to thicken.
Add boiled water and stir until gelatin dissolves completely.
Add remaining juice and stir well.
Divide gelatin mixture between serving dishes or pour into gelatin mold and chill at least two hours.
When ready to serve, top with whipped cream and candied ginger pieces.