|Selection of summer fruit vodka jellies|
Vodka has in many ways become the spirit of choice in Scotland in modern times, particularly perhaps among the younger generations. It is therefore entirely appropriate to consider different ways in which vodka may be served in unusual and tasty ways. While vodka fruit jellies are very popular, it's maybe not quite so common that they be made with fresh fruit which can be bought from any supermarket at this time of year. The fruits included on this page are merely suggestions and a wide variety of alternatives would work equally well, especially those which can be sourced fresh locally.
|Selection of fresh summer fruits|
Small tub fresh blueberries
Small tub fresh raspberries
1 medium sized ripe pear
Large wedge of fresh lemon
16 fluid ounces vodka
4 fluid ounces sugar syrup*
*You can buy sugar syrup but it is incredibly easy to make at home and I've shown how a little bit further down the page
|Diced pear flesh is soaked in cold lemon water|
Peel and core the pear. Finely dice and add immediately to a bowl of cold water with the lemon wedge. This prevents it from oxidising and turning brown.
|Blueberries are rinsed under cold running water|
Wash the blueberries and the raspberries separately in a colander under running cold water. Drain well.
|Sugar is measured out for making sugar syrup|
If you are making sugar syrup from scratch, all you do is begin by measuring out equal quantities by volume of sugar and water. For the amount required in this recipe, I used a small drinking glass of each.
|Sugar and water are the only ingredients in sugar syrup|
Add the sugar and water to a small saucepan and gently heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, just until the sugar is fully dissolved. Remember, you will then have to measure out precisely four fluid ounces and not simply use the whole amount you have prepared. Measuring out both liquids accurately is essential if the gelatine is to set to the right consistency.
Gelatine is also available in powdered form but I think leaf gelatine produces far better results. Follow the instructions on the pack to determine how many leaves you need and how it should be incorporated in to the liquid. In this instance, I had to begin by soaking four leaves of gelatine in cold water for two or three minutes until it is just softened.
|Gelatine leaves are soaked in cold water|
While the gelatine is soaking, you can add the fruit to the ramekins. This set is unusual in that it is comprised of seven ramekins but you can use as many or as few as you wish, simply adjusting the ingredient quantities accordingly.
|Fruits are ready for vodka jelly solution|
Drain the pear pieces and three-quarters fill two of the ramekins. I lightly crushed the berries before using them to similarly fill two ramekins in each instance but this is not essential. In the case of the seventh ramekin, I combined a little of each of the three fruits.
|Gelatine leaves are melted in warmed vodka and sugar syrup|
Measure out the vodka and sugar syrup in to a pot and heat until bubbles only just start to form around the edges. Turn off the heat. It's imperative not to heat any further or you will boil off the alcohol. It's also important that the liquid is not too hot when the gelatine is added or it will affect the setting qualities.
Lift the gelatine leaves from the steeping water and squeeze out as much moisture as you can in your fisted hand. Add to the warm liquid and stir until fully dissolved. Add to a jug and carefully fill each ramekin to the brim. Cover and leave to cool and partly set. Lift gently to the fridge and leave for a minimum couple of hours before serving chilled.
|Sweet serving suggestions for vodka jelies|
You can serve these fruit jellies any way you wish but what I did here was take a couple of very popular Scottish sweet treats and serve them in small portions with the jellies.
|Millionaire shortbread and macaroon bar platter|
Simply cut small pieces of millionaire shortbread and Macaroon bar and lay them out on a serving plate.
|Raspberry vodka jelly served with macaroon and millionaire shortbread|
Serve a fruit jelly with a piece each of the shortbread and macaroon.
|Tucking in to raspberry vodka jelly|
If you want a healthier option, you could try mix and matching the fruits. In this instance, I served a blueberry vodka jelly with a couple of pear wedges.
|Blueberry vodka jelly is served with fresh bear|
Try spooning small amounts of the jelly on to the pear for a deliciously refreshing, fruity treat.
|Blueberry vodka jelly on pear segment|