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I'm always on the look out for new ways to use beautiful vintage tea cups and saucers and came across this lovely recipe for Mandarin & Jasmine Tea Cup Jellies with Raspberries. What a great addition to a high tea, a refreshing dessert on a warm evening, or perhaps a dessert table laid out with different flavours of tea jelly.
As jelly is very 'British' it seems, in my mind, to fit with my love of vintage English china. It also helps that I adore jelly.... my favourite being lime with either mandarins or pears.
A Bit of Jelly History
In England in particular, from medieval times through to the mid-1900s, jelly-making then evolved into an elaborate art form, with complex centrepieces constructed of layered and moulded bases. Cut jelly shapes were suspended in clear jellies, and multipart moulds allowed jellies to have sculpted cores of contrasting colours and flavours. The glazed ceramic jelly moulds — depicting rabbits, grapes, geometric shapes and so on — are a colonial legacy from Britain, whose Staffordshire potteries produced many different designs in the first few decades of the 20th century.
Mandarin & Jasmine Tea Cup Jellies with Raspberries
(makes approximately 4 tea cup jellies)
Juice of 2-3 fresh mandarins (about 1/3 cup) plus extra mandarin to decorate (can be replaced with fresh orange juice)
1 tbsp powdered gelatine (can be replaced with agar)
1 tbsp sugar
400ml (approx 1 & 2/3 cups) boiling water
1 tsp jasmine tea leaves (can be replaced with other tea - e.g. green tea or earl grey)
1 punnet fresh raspberries (can be replaced with other berries)
Place boiling water and tea leaves in a bowl and leave to steep until it is strong enough to your liking, at least 10 mins. In a small saucepan, stir together gelatine, sugar and mandarin juice and leave for 1 minute while gelatine softens. Place over medium heat and stir until gelatine is completely dissolved, about 6-8 minutes.
Strain tea to remove leaves and stir in gelatine mixture. (Feel free to adjust the balance of flavours to taste at this point.) Pour mixture into tea cup, add a few rasberries to each tea cup. Chill in the refrigerator until set, at least 2 hours or overnight. When ready to serve, remove from the fridge and top with extra mandarin slices and raspberries. Can be stored in the fridge for a couple days.