And speaking of the importance of presentation when it comes to jelly, and the difficulties of finding the right kind of mould; a couple of winsome interns sauntered into the Psychogourmet Test Kitchen the other day, brandishing this can of Grass Jelly, an Asian, in this case Taiwanese, dessert.
It’s officially made from Platostama plustre, aka Chinese mesona, a member of the mint family though it tasted nothing like mint. It was put in the fridge for 24 hours – nobody told me to do that, it just seemed like a good idea – and when it was opened it looked like this, which frankly wasn’t so very decorative:
Anyway what else was there to do except cut it into chunks, put in on a plate, pour a little cream over it, and hope for the best?
It seems idle to say it tasted like grass because I have never eaten grass, but it certainly tasted very herbal; not much immediate flavor but an aftertaste that lingered for hours.
But you know, getting jelly out of a can seemed just a little unadventurous so I decided to make one of my own: orange Jell-O poured over a can of crushed pineapple.
But you know, that didn’t look very adventurous either so I decided to add some food coloring.
I poked about in it with a fork, and I had in mind that there might be some marbling, something like this:
But there wasn’t.
And when it was chilled and set, it ended up looking sort of like a burned rice pudding though obviously it tasted nothing like that.
In fact it didn’t really taste much of either orange or pineapple, though it was good enough, and with a spoonful of lemon sorbet it definitely tasted better than the grass jelly though I’m totally well aware that these things are culturally specific.