Yes, this recipe is over-the-top. In our Champagne gelée, you’ll find Champagne solidified with gelatin, ruby-red berries and pomegranate seeds suspended within along with flecks of edible 23-karat gold leaf; it’s perfect for New Year’s Eve or any time you want a spirited, elegant dessert. Warning, this is for adults only. The alcohol is in its full strength here – which is part of the fun. Unmolded, as seen below, it is a showstopper on the buffet table. You can also present it in pretty, clear glasses to let your dessert shine.
Images: Peter Muka
Image: Dédé Wilson
- 1, 750 ml. bottle sparkling white wine, Prosecco or Champagne
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin, such as Knox
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1, 6 ounce package fresh raspberries (about 1⅓ cups)
- ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
- 3 sheets of 23-karat gold leaf (optional)
- Coat a 4-cup mold with nonstick spray. Take a clean paper towel and remove most of it; you just want the slightest film of it on the inside of the mold. Alternately, have 6 clear glasses ready. (Their volume can vary but between 4 and 8 ounces is best).
- Pour about half the bottle of wine in a saucepan; you can do this by eye. Gently stir in sugar and allow any bubbles to subside. Sprinkle the gelatin evenly over the wine; do not let it clump in one spot. Allow the gelatin to soften for 5 minutes. Heat over medium heat, occasionally whisking gently for a few minutes or until sugar and gelatin are dissolved. Remove from heat and gently whisk in remaining sparkling wine. Let the mixture sit for a few moments for bubbles and foam to subside and skim off any remaining.
- Refrigerate for 20 minutes and check texture. You want to catch it just as it is thickening. Check every 10 to 20 minutes until it has thickened but is still pourable.
- Pour a little of the gelatin mixture into the prepared mold (or your glasses). Add a few berries and some pomegranate seeds and a bit of gold, which you can put in place with a tweezer. Add more gelatin mixture and repeat with fruit and gold until you have used up all of the gelatin. (You might have fruit left over.)
- Refrigerate overnight. To unmold, fill a large, deep bowl with warm water. Dip the mold into the water for about 5 seconds and remove. Tip the mold gently and see if the edges of the gelatin are coming free. Place platter on top of mold and invert. Repeat warm-water technique if necessary. Serve cold. Gelée in glasses can be served as is. Serve with extra berries, if you like.
- The recipe can easily be doubled. You will need an 8-cup mold.
- These days, many supermarkets such as Whole Foods carry pomegranate seeds in small containers. This saves you prep time. Conveniently they are usually right near the raspberries.
- The gold leaf can be purchased at art supply stores or from goldleafcompany.com. You do have to buy a package of 25 sheets and it will cost you almost $50, but it literally lasts forever and per sheet, it isn’t that expensive, especially considering the visual drama it creates!