Gelatin and Grape Gelee

Discussion in 'Professional Pastry Chefs' started by sherman452, Oct 4, 2014.

  1. sherman452

    sherman452

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    Hello Pastry Chefs,

    I'm hoping that someone here can help me. 

    I am the chef of a small, bistro restaurant.  I also do all the desserts. 

    I am having trouble with one of my desserts.  I am trying to make a grape gelee using a concord grape reduction, cooling that down and then adding gelatin to that, letting it bloom and then heating that mixture up.  It never gels.  Is there something in the concord grape juice, an enzyme or something, that prevents it from gelling.  The only way I have gotten it to gel is too...gasp... (add some grape Jello).

    Any suggestions?

    Thank you!
     
  2. panini

    panini

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    @Sherman452,

    Hey Chef, I'm thinking that after making your reduction you should strain and add the gelatin while warm or hot, sheet or powder. Stir it in, don't whip it, it will make it cloudy. Then refrigerate. I think reheating after adding the gelatin is your problem.
     
  3. chefedb

    chefedb

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    I agree with Panini. Also grape jell-o has none or very little grape in it. Most  real grapes are treated with Sulfur Dioxide to stop spoiling or mold. Sulfur will retard the gelling  procedure.
     
  4. luc_h

    luc_h

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    Hi Sherman452,

    There are no protein digesting enzymes in concord grape juice unlike in papaya or pineapple.  I do not think this is at play here.  I know I am coming from left field but according to many references acidity affects the gelation time and strength of gelatin.  According to the reference below, it appears that tartaric acid (the main acid in grapes) retards the gelation of gelatin. 

    http://chestofbooks.com/food/scienc...nd-Stiffening-Power-Of-Gelatin-Continued.html

    I actually suspect that the concord grapes you have must be very ripe so they are not very acid to start with and the acid they do contain is tartaric which doesn't help your cause.

    Adding Jello will work because it contains specific acids that work well with gelatin, adipic and fumaric acid, and, acid buffers, phosphate and citrate. (http://www.labelwatch.com/prod_results.php?pid=142505)

    JELLO, GELATIN DESSERT, GRAPE

    INGREDIENTS: Sugar, Gelatin, Adipic Acid   (for Tartness), Contains Less than 2% of Artificial Flavor, Disodium Phosphate  and Sodium Citrate   (Control Acidity), Fumaric Acid   (for Tartness), Tannic Acid, Red 40, Blue 2.

    this would be my approach:

    add lemon juice (easy) if you want to stick with using gelatin

    Use pectin instead (with lemon juice works better)

    if you are looking for cutability (make pieces) stick to gelatin but for gelling thickness only go for pectin.

    P.S. A little factor that may be at play here: powdered granular gelatin (Jello) has a higher bloom index (stronger gel making capacity) than sheet gelatin.  Maybe just adding more sheet gelatin and waiting longer could be the trick.

    good luck!

    Luc H.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2014
  5. sherman452

    sherman452

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    Luc H.-  Thank you for that very useful information!!  I can certainly experiment with a little more acidity.  What if I just use a pectin based concord grape jelly?  Would that be essentially what I am looking for?

    I cannot stand the taste of the grape Jello, but it definitely helped the concord juice gel.  I will keep experimenting.

    Thanks, again!
     
  6. luc_h

    luc_h

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    gelatine is good to make shapes, as in cut into squares.  I assumed that is what you were going for by adding gelatin to your grape reduction.  If your looking for a collapsible gel,like a fruit filling, then grape jelly will work.

    Luc H.
     
  7. sherman452

    sherman452

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    I'm trying to make layers in between some panna cotta.  I think I'm looking for a firmer gelling of the grape juice. 
     
  8. panini

    panini

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    @Sherman452,

    Chef, I not real sure about your idea. I just think there will be different textures inside the dessert that may not work. Contrast in texture is great but with an enhancer. I'm thinking you might be better off using your panna recipe and doing something like a Bavarois with a grape puree on the bottom. You can pour a half of the vessel and top it off with the bavarois or Bavarian cream. and maybe boost the bottom color with a little color
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2014
  9. sherman452

    sherman452

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    I was able to make one batch of the dessert when I was experimenting.  The peanut butter panna cotta and the grape gelee tasted great together.  And it looked really great with the dark layer of the grape gelee and the light panna cotta.  It was a hit.  But now I can't get it to set up again and that's what I am having trouble with.  I'm going to experiment with some of the suggestions I've received here.

    Maybe a peanut butter pastry cream is the way to go.
     
  10. panini

    panini

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    @Sherman452,

    I didn't realize that is what you were going for. Sounds great. Chef, make sure your gelatin is not getting old. Even if you bump up the gelatin without going overboard, you can always let them sit out for a while before serving to avoid any rubbery taste.