Any recipe that includes pickle juice piques my pickle interest. My fridge is FULL of pickle juice and because I love pickles so much, I make a lot of pickles and I eat a lot of pickles.
It always seems a waste to chuck away all the delicious spiced vinegar once I’ve scoffed all the edibles, so I often reuse the liquid by bunging something else in it to pickle (probably against all health and safety laws) or I drain it through muslin and keep it in a bottle for adding to sparkling water. Yum.
Gherkin pickle juice on the left, beetroot pickle juice on the right.
Mr Rathbone sometimes calls me Perkins after a line in a song about a waitress called Perkins who ate so many gherkins it pickled her internal workin’s. There I am on the left…
It’s amazing how easy it is for me to get sidetracked when googling for blog post images, and this will be now winging its way to my writing desk sometime soon.
There were plenty of other gherkin related items calling for my attention but I – MUST – RESIST.
This Ellen Drew recipe has been hanging around my to-do list for a LONG TIME. Because not only does it include pickle juice, it also includes gelatine. The only time I’ve mucked about with gelatine is when Yinzerella over at Dinner Is Served 1972 invited me to a Knox-Apocalypse cookalong. You can read about the Bette Davis Mustard Gelatine Ring (!) made by Erica at Retro Recipe Attempts and pictured here in all its glory…
…and my attempt to make Turkey in Aspic into something edible in this blog post.
For someone who can’t recall making anything containing gelatine apart from the Turkey in Aspic, I have a lot of the stuff around the place…
Ellen’s original recipe was vague to say the least but I had to attack it as it’s destined for the Vincent Price book. As per the Turkey in Aspic, I earmarked a fair few hours to tackle this task and I’m glad I did. I won’t go into all the ins and outs but I will say this. I learned a lot about how to encase fruit in layers of aspic and I was VERY PLEASED WITH MYSELF when I cracked it.
I don’t think I’ve been as pleased with any cooking endeavour since Joan Crawford’s Poached Salmon with Mayonnaise-Mustard Dressing in 2015.
So should you fancy spending a few hours in the kitchen constructing these showstopper deserts my main tip is this. Keep your saucepan of vinegar/pickle juice/gelatine on the stove between layers, don’t put it in the fridge. As each layer of your dessert sets (you can test this by wiggling your glass) gently add the fruit then heat up your mixture again if it has started to set. Once it’s run, let it cool down a little again (I put my saucepan on a wooden chopping board to cool) before you add another layer. Then leave that layer to set. Repeat ad infinitum depending on the size of your dish.
I wondered if I could turn my creation out of the glass by turning it upside down and running hot water on the glass and BY JOVE it popped out just lovely. I was well chuffed by the whole endeavour.
Ellen Drew’s Ginger Ale Fruit Salad
¾ cup ginger ale, divided use
4 tablespoons sweet pickle vinegar
1 tablespoon gelatine
Small fruits or berries
Cream or sweet mayonnaise to serve
Place ½ cup of the ginger ale and the vinegar in a saucepan and bring to boiling point. Dissolve the gelatine in ¼ cup of cold ginger ale, then add this to the mixture in the saucepan. Chill until syrupy. Pour a little of the gelatine mixture into individual moulds and arrange some small fruits or berries on top. When the mixture has stiffened, fill the moulds up with layers of cold aspic and berries, allowing the mixture to harden between additions. Serve with the cream or mayonnaise.