Champagne Jellies with Syllabub Cream and Frosted Grapes
Sparkling, cool jellies with a special touch of class. No it doesn't have to be champagne; in fact, a sparkling Saumur works very well. It's nice served in champagne glasses, or wine glasses placed on a small tray in the fridge to stop them toppling over.
To make the jelly, pour 450ml water into a saucepan. Next pare the zest of the lemon using a peeler. Add this to the pan, together with the sugar, and bring up to simmering point. Meanwhile, soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for 5 minutes to soften. Then take the pan off the heat.
Squeeze the excess water from the gelatine and whisk in to the mixture. Next add the juice of the lemon and strain the contents of the pan into a large bowl.
Leave to cool, cover and chill in the fridge until the jelly is just on the point of setting - this should take 1- 1½ hours, but keep an eye on it. Then give it a good whisk.
After that uncork the champagne, measure out 275ml and pour it into the jelly. Stir once or twice to blend everything, then ladle gently into the serving glasses (being gentle means trying to conserve as many bubbles as you can).
Chill the jellies, covered in clingfilm, for 4 hours, by which time they should have a deliciously soft set, not rubbery but firm enough to support the syllabub.
Make the syllabub by combining the champagne, brandy, lemon juice and sugar in a bowl. Leave this on one side, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved.
Then pour in the cream and whisk until it stands in soft peaks; cover and chill until you are ready to serve.
Just before serving, top each jelly with blobs of the syllabub cream and decorate with frosted grapes.
To make the frosted grapes: For the best effect try to separate the grapes into clusters of two or three depending on their size, leaving them still attached to the stalk.
Then wash and dry them thoroughly and dip them first into the egg white and then into the sugar, making sure each one gets an even coating of sugar.
Spread them out on baking parchment to dry for a couple of hours before using to decorate.