Le Cordon Bleu News, 04/30/2012
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Technique – Making savory jelly
A jelly can be made by preparing a stock which is naturally rich in jellying agents (such as veal trotter, fish trimmings etc). In the absence of natural jelling agents, jelly can be made by dissolving either gelatin or agar-agar in stock and leaving it to set.
Gelatin is a clear substance obtained from the bones and cartilage of animals. Agar-agar is an extract of seaweed found in the Indian and Pacific Ocean. Agar-agar can be used in vegetarian dishes and has the advantage of setting more firmly than gelatin. Gelatin is commonly used in both leaf and powdered form whereas agar-agar is most frequently used in powdered form.
To make a savory jelly with gelatin, the leaf version must first be softened in cold water, excess water removed and then melted in the hot liquid. Powdered gelatin should be sprinkled over a small quantity of cold water and left to swell before being dissolved in a bain-marie or directly in a little of the hot liquid.
To obtain a clear jelly, the stock must be clarified (to see the technique for clarification, please consult the method of Quail consommé flavored with celery in puff pastry). The resulting jelly is frequently used in molded dishes, such as “oeufs en gelée” and this is where the term aspic is used.
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Recipe: Quail consommé flavored with celery in puff pastry
This recipe demonstrates clarification, a French cuisine technique, which gives a clear double strength consommé with intense flavor.
Technique – making meringue
There are three types of meringue: french meringue, italian meringue and swiss meringue, and all three have different uses: petits-fours, parfaits, iced soufflés, dacquoises, tart or cake toppings or simply for dessert decoration.