Jellies and gels: the new fruit
Fruit is one of the most commonly used decorations on pastries, cakes and desserts. For the taste and appearance, but also to accentuate the pastry, as an 'eye-catcher'. The icing on the cake. However, the quality of the fruit can be very variable. Consequence: considerably reduced ease of cutting and processing or loss of flavour. At any time when the fruit is not at its best or abundantly available, you can opt for an alternative. We borrow some techniques from the restaurant world. No foams or drops, but jellies and fruit-based gels.
New generation of binders
In the bakery world, we mainly work with pectin and gelatin to bind fruit and mousses or get them to gel. In recent years, a new generation of binders has entered gastronomy. This was thanks especially to the Adrià brothers of the most famous restaurant in the world: El Bulli. These binders, which were revolutionary at the time, are now an integral part of creative cuisine. But not only there. In the pastry chef’s pantry, agar, xanthan gum and gellan gum deserve a permanent place next to gelatin and pectin.
This is a vegetable gelling agent extracted from red seaweed. For perfect gelling, you must carefully dissolve the agar in liquid and then continue boiling it. Afterwards, store the preparation in a cold place. The great advantage of a fruit gel with agar is that it keeps perfectly and has a firm texture at room temperature.
This is a tasteless thickener used to obtain a higher viscosity without boiling the mixture, which gives it a more natural taste. Mix the xanthan gum at room temperature with a liquid of your choice, fruit purée, cream or (tea) infusions.
This is a vegetable gum that is heatresistant. It gives a transparent finish to a jelly or aspic. Gellan gum can be used to make shiny, cuttable jellies to decorate cakes and desserts with tasteful fruit accents.
Fruit jellies and gels in practice
Discover our recipes for jellies or fruit based gels and get inspired.
The simplest technique is the classic preparation of jam. Start with a (more or less) equal amount of fruit and sugar. Cooking the two together gives a very lightly bonded jam. To make it nice and spreadable, you can add an extra binder or gelling agent. In this case it is pectin.
Almonds, raisins, dried apricots and cranberries are perfect for giving a different structure in the form of a smooth jelly or a cuttable jelly.
The temptation is great also to use dairy products such as cream, yoghurt, cream cheese or quark to create a surprising gel. It has a different structure than whipped cream or mousse to finish a pastry or dessert and combines very well with other textures.