Tartine’s Champagne Gelee With Strawberries

A Jell-O for adults only.

A Jell-O for adults only.

 

When sommeliers and Champagne producers admonish people to drink bubbly more often rather than just for the most special of occasions, they probably didn’t have this in mind.

In fact, when a publicist sent me a sample of the Taittinger Prestige Rosé, I was almost afraid of telling her how I planned to enjoy it.

Yes, in a grown-up version of Jell-O.

But when I spied the beautiful and super easy recipe in the new “Tartine All Day: Modern Recipes For The Home Cook” (Lorena Jones Books/Ten Speed Press), I couldn’t hep but want to try it.

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The cookbook, of which I received a review copy, is by Elisabeth Prueitt, co-founder with her husband Chad Robertson of San Francisco’s beloved Tartine Bakery and Tartine Manufactory.

Because Prueitt is gluten-intolerant, the cookbook’s 200 recipes offer up inventive gluten-free options. Gougeres are made with rice flour, oat flour and tapioca flour. Boysenberry pie gets a crust made of brown rice flour, potato starch, tapioca flour and oat flour. And jam bars are fortified with rolled oats, almond flour, and oat flour.

Although you might think this is a book all about baked goods, it’s not. There are plenty of savory sensations such as “Simple Crab Bisque,” “Beef Daube,” and “Cider Caramel Pork Ribs.”

As Prueitt notes, “Champagne Gelee with Strawberries,” looks like shimmering gem stones when served.

In her original recipe, she uses Champagne, Prosecco or Cava. I decided to add a little color by using the rose by Taittinger, one of the last family-owned and operated Champagne houses in the world. The Prestige Rosé ($70) is a gorgeous pink-salmon color. It’s crisp, dry, and redolent of cherries and strawberries. You will use most of the bottle in making this gelee. But there will be about a glass left for you to savor all on its own.

A sophisticated and beautiful Champagne.

A sophisticated and beautiful Champagne.

There is no plain water used in making this gelee; it’s all Champagne. As such, the gelee retains the pretty pale pink color of the rosé.

I did have a problem following the original directions, which call for sprinkling the gelatin over 1/4 cup of Champagne, then heating it to dissolve it, before adding it to a bowl of more Champagne and sugar. When I added the warm gelatin mixture to the bowl of room-temperature Champagne, it seized up. Rather than being able to stir in the gelatin easily, I was left with strands and clumps of it. I ended up transferring the bowl of Champagne and sugar to a saucepan, and heating it all up until the gelatin dissolved. That worked just fine. So in the recipe below, I changed the directions to reflect that.

Prueitt likes to serve the gelee after only an hour of chilling in the fridge. It’s still plenty soft at that point. If you like it a little more set, but still slightly jiggly, keep it in the fridge for two hours or longer instead.

This makes for an elegant and light dessert. It’s wonderful with fresh fruit and/or a dollop of softly whipped cream. Even a small scoop of vanilla ice cream on top is divine.

It’s plenty boozy. You definitely taste the Champagne, and you will feel its effects if you eat enough of it. So just make sure you reserve this for the 21-and-over crowd.

It's pretty, and packs a punch.

It’s pretty, and packs a punch.

Champagne Gelee with Strawberries

(Makes 4 to 6 servings)

1/4 cup Champagne, Prosecco or Cava

4 1/2 teaspoons powdered unflavored gelatin

6 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 3/4 cups Champagne, Prosecco or Cava

12 ounces strawberries

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

 

Pour the 1/4 cup Champagne into a small saucepan and sprinkle the gelatin evenly over the top to bloom. (It will become soft and absorb the liquid.) Heat the mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, until the gelatin dissolves completely.

In a large pot, mix the sugar into the 2 3/4 cups Champagne. It will foam, but the bubbles will subside after a minute. Warm on medium heat to just below a simmer. Add the gelatin mixture, stirring until dissolved and incorporated completely.

Pour into a square or rectangular container (an 8-by-8-inch square glass pan works well) so the liquid is about 1 to 2 inches deep. Cover and chill in the refrigerator until set, about 1 hour. The longer it chills, the more set it will become.

Just before serving, hull and slice strawberries. Toss with the 2 teaspoons sugar and let macerate for a few minutes. The sugar will pull some juice out of the berries. Toss a few times to coat in the juices.

Once the gelee is set, use a knife to cut the gelee in a crosshatch pattern in order to create small cubes. Arrange the cubes in dessert glasses or small serving bowls. Top with strawberries and serve.

Adapted from “Tartine All Day” by Elisabeth Prueitt

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Another Tartine Recipe to Try: Salted Chocolate-Rye Cookies

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