Strawberry & pear agar-agar

This was part of my menu for a tea party. I had to choose some foods to suit the extremely hot weather at the moment, as well as things that would go well with Chinese tea. I flipped through my summer wagashi recipe books and decided that a co0l, non-melting kanten/agar agar dish would go down well.

strawberry & pear agar-agar

strawberry & pear agar-agar

Started out planning green tea and red bean agar, but found my matcha had expired and turned a dusky brown colour *yuck*. Looking around in the kitchen for tasty alternatives, I found  some strawberries in the fridge — small Korean strawberries which, if you’re lucky, can be very sweet. This batch wasn’t, so I didn’t mind using them to make agar-agar instead of enjoying fresh with crème frâiche (Carrefour’s La Reflets de France premium house brand, great with scones too).

I put the strawberries into the microwave for a short while, then mashed them with a potato masher (a fork will also do). As there were only  a few strawberries, I chucked in some canned pears leftover from the improvised gluten-free pear muffins, and mashed up the whole lot.

Measured the fruit puree then added water to make up 1 litre. Put in quite a lot of sugar, which I normally wouldn’t do but since these were for a party, the tastebuds of the guests took priority over my own food preferences.

Heated the mixture and added the agar-agar powder according to the packet instructions, then chilled it in moulds. Super easy and they were a big hit!

The full tea party menu:
Strawberry & pear agar-agar
Pumpkin walnut sponge cake [adapted from this]
Earl Grey creme caramel [using this basic recipe]
Chinese “gong fu” tea: oolong and pu-er

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Coconut agar-agar

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Open a fresh coconut, drain out the coconut water and scrape out the flesh with a teaspoon to create small pieces that will fit nicely in to the bottom of the jelly moulds.

One packet of agar-agar powder is enough for one litre of liquid, so adjust accordingly.

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The sweet taste of the coconut water seems to diminish when they are made into jellies. Unless you have a delicate palate, these will seem tasteless, with a creamy touch from the coconut flesh.

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These were larger jellies made in sillicone baking cups. However, I noticed a strange taste from these jellies that those made with the plastic jelly moulds did not have. The odd taste was so strong that it overwhelmed the very delicate flavour of the coconut water.

Don’t forget that agar-agar doesn’t melt so these are excellent additions to bento boxes in hot weather. You might also want to have a look at my other jelly recipes (agar-agar & konnnyaku).

This is such a simple recipe, I wish I had thought of it before! Full credit goes to our family’s domestic helper who came up with the idea and made the agar-agar :).