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Chile-Ginger-Mint Jellies

Makes 6 servings
  • Active time: 15 min
    Total time: 5 1/4 hr (includes resting and chilling)
If suave and hipster-hot is your idea of a dessert, you've just found it. These chile-ginger-mint jellies are an almost academic study in the contrasting sensations of hot and cool. The Chinese consider ginger to be hot—it's the source of heat in hot and sour soup—but Americans tend to view ginger more as a fresh, zinging accent of flavor. Add some fresh chile to the ginger and you introduce a new dimension of complexity that's counterbalanced by the cooling aspect of mint. The result? Your taste buds are rewarded with the dynamic duo of fiery hot and icy cold, all in one bite.

This recipe is part of our Gourmet Modern Menu: Fiery Fare. Click here to view the full menu
Published in Gourmet Live 08.29.12

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup thinly sliced fresh ginger (about 4 ounces; no need to peel)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped serrano or jalapeño chiles, including seeds (see Cooks' Notes)
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin (almost one 1/4-ounce packet)
  • 1 cup chilled heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

GARNISH:

  • Thinly sliced candied ginger; mint sprigs

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Bring 2 1/2 cups water, ginger, sugar, and chiles to a boil in a 2-quart saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat and briskly simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in mint, then remove pan from heat. Cover pan with a lid and let stand for 15 minutes. Strain ginger-mint tea through a fine-mesh sieve into a large liquid measuring cup or bowl.
  • Sprinkle gelatin over remaining 1/2 cup water in cleaned saucepan and let stand for 1 minute to soften. Heat mixture over medium heat, stirring, until gelatin is dissolved, then stir mixture into ginger-mint tea until combined well.
  • Measure liquid, and if it's less than 2 1/2 cups, add more water. If it's more, don't worry. Let mixture cool for 30 minutes, then divide among six (6- to 8-ounce) serving glasses. Chill jellies in a small baking pan, tops of glasses covered with a sheet of paper towel secured by plastic wrap, until set, at least 4 hours.
  • Beat cream with sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer until it just holds soft peaks. Top jellies with cream, candied ginger, and mint sprigs.

COOKS' NOTES:

  • Because the ginger contributes heat in addition to the chile, some members of the staff found the greater amount of chile a tad too spicy. If you're a chilehead, however, go for the full amount, if not more. If you're chile-shy, then use the lesser amount, and know that the cream will temper the heat.
  • The sheet of paper towel placed over the glasses absorbs any condensation that might collect on the plastic, thereby preventing any drips back onto the jellies.
  • Jellies can be made 3 days ahead and kept chilled.
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