Recipe: Plum & Madeira Jelly with Almond Ice Cream

Jelly is something we vegetarians never order in restaurants, as it is almost always made with pork gelatine.  So its a real treat to make some at home from whatever fruit you have to hand, using agar-agar flakes instead.  These aren’t cheap, but will last a long time so treat yourself next time you spot some in the supermarket.  

A generous splash of Madeira and some quick homemade almond ice cream turn the primary school favourite of jelly and ice cream into a simple but elegant dinner party pud for grown-ups.

Plum and Madeira Jelly with Almond Ice Cream

Ingredients (serves 2)

For the Jelly:
  • 500g plums
  • 125ml cold water
  • 90g caster sugar
  • 40ml Madeira
  • 1½ tbsp Agar-agar flakes (available from most supermarkets, near the gelatine)
For the Ice Cream:
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 250g Mascarpone cheese
  • 2-3 drops Almond Essence

1. Quarter the plums, discarding the stones.  Put into a saucepan with the water and sugar, and simmer for 15 minutes or until soft and starting to collapse.

2. Place a fine-meshed sieve over a measuring jug, and strain the plum mixture, using a wooden spoon to extract as much juice as possible from the plums.

3. Add the Madeira, and if necessary, top up the jug with water to make 400ml liquid.

4. Pour back into the cleaned saucepan, and sprinkle over the agar-agar flakes.  Over a very gentle heat, stir occasionally and wait 4-5 minutes until the flakes have fully dissolved.  Pour into your glasses or moulds and refrigerate for at least 4 hours until set.

5. For the ice cream, whisk the egg yolks and icing sugar for 3-4 minutes or until very pale and fluffy.  Add the mascarpone and beat for a further 2-3 minutes.  Add a few drops of almond essence and taste – it is pungent stuff, so don’t be too heavy-handed!

6. Pour into a tub and freeze for 5-6 hours until set.  If you have a chance, take it out and beat with a spatula once or twice during the freezing process, (though it will still taste great if you forget!).  Make sure you take it out of the freezer 20 minutes before serving.

(NB the ice cream contains raw egg yolks – check with your guests before serving that this is OK)