Jelly Snow Globes
These snow globes are 100% edible, and would be the perfect ending to a holiday dinner party. Using agar-agar gives the jelly a firmer texture than gelatin and sets at room temperature, so there is less time spent waiting for the jelly to set. This recipe can be adapted to use gelatin if desired, and I would recommend following the directions of the gelatin packet to correspond with the amount of water used in this recipe. Gelatin will give the jelly a more jiggly and delicate texture, and will be equally as delicious.
The trees are made out of nerikiri, which is a dough made from bean paste, and can be dyed and shaped into any festive shape you like. The trees and the snow flakes can all be made a day ahead of time, and stored on a dish wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature.
Jelly Snow Globes
Nerikiri Pine Trees
- 100 g shiroan paste sweet, white kidney bean paste – can be found in many Asian grocery stores
- 1 tsp shiratamako flour glutinous rice flour – can also be found in many Asian grocery stores
- 2 tsp water
- cocoa powder
- green food colouring
- 100 ml water
- 100 ml milk
- 2 g powdered agar-agar
- 600 ml water
- 4 g powdered agar-agar
- 60 g sugar
- 3 small glass cups for molding
Nerikiri Pine Trees
- Gradually add the water to the shiratamako, dissolving it and creating a watery white liquid.
- Then add this liquid to the shiroan paste in a small pot, and mix very well with a rubber spatula until the liquid is completely incorporated. Place the pot on the stove, and set it on medium-low heat. Keep kneading the dough with the spatula until most of the water has been absorbed, and it no longer has a shine. It should still have a paste-like consistency and hold together well, but feel and look slightly dryer than before. You don’t want to cook it so long that it begins to brown, and remove it immediately from the heat if you notice it browning. On the other hand, if you do not cook it long enough it will be much too sticky to handle.
- Once it has reached this stage, remove it from the heat, and spread the paste evenly along the insides of the pot, for it to cool. Spreading it around ½ to 1 cm thick will allow the paste to cool without drying out too much.
- Once the nerikiri has cooled enough to touch and not burn your hands, scrape it off from the pot with a spatula, and roll it into a ball. If it crumbles and cracks when you are trying to shape it, it has been overcooked, and if it sticks to your hands and is very difficult to shape, it has been undercooked. In both of these instances, I would recommend making a new batch. My first batch did not turn out well at all, but you will quickly get used to the dough and what it should look like. It should feel like a slightly denser version of Play-Doh.
- Tear off about 1/8 of the dough, and knead it together with a little bit of cocoa powder to give it a brown colour.
- Then dye the remaining dough green, to become the branches of the tree. Divide it into 7 or 8 pieces, and shape them into cones that fit inside the glass cups that you will use for molding. Shape the brown dough into little trunks, and simply stick them onto the bases of the cones to make the pine trees. Set aside until you are ready to use them.
- Pour the water, milk and powdered agar-agar into a small pot, and mix together, dissolving the agar-agar. Bring to a boil, and then bring it down to low heat and simmer for 1-2 minutes.
- Turn off the heat, and allow it to slightly cool in the pot. Then pour the mixture into a flat tray where the mixture is ½ cm deep. Using a deep lid of a large food storage container is quite useful for this. Once this has set (it only takes about 5 minutes, at room temperature or in the fridge), use the rims of the glasses to cut out 3 circles, and a straw to cut out little circles in the jelly.
- Pour the water and agar-agar into a pot, and mix together. Set to high, and dissolve the agar-agar as the water heats up. When it reaches a boil, bring the heat down to low and simmer for 3 – 4 minutes. After simmering, add and completely dissolve the sugar.
- Remove from heat, and allow it to cool slightly in the pot. Then pour into the three glass cups and let sit at room temperature, allowing it to partially set.
- The jelly is ready to be decorated when the surface is just partially set, but is still liquid, and you can easily stick the snowflakes and trees inside. Remember to place the trees in upside down, because the jelly will be turned out from the molds when fully hardened. Use a toothpick to push the snowflakes into the jelly, and if they are still rising to the surface, wait about 30 seconds, and try again. Place the white disks on top, and allow it to be slightly covered by the clear jelly in order to firmly secure it in place.
- The jelly sets quite quickly from this point, so be sure to have the trees and cut out snowflakes directly on hand. If you are making more than three snow globes, I would recommend making the clear jelly in batches, so as to avoid the jelly setting before you stick the trees and snowflakes inside.
- Allow the jelly to firmly set, and then turn out onto plates by gently sliding a knife between the jelly and the glass. Serve this jelly with whipped cream or ice cream to create a beautiful winter scene on your plate.