There were two items in the pantry that we bought before Christmas but never got around to using. One was a box of cherry-flavored Jell-o and the other was a can of pineapple-stuffed rambutan. I started toying with the idea of making a dessert out of them two days ago. I finally did that last night. Squares of cherry-flavored Jello-o and the pineapple-stuffed rambutan with caramel and cream. The Jell-o, however, was too wiggly and broke apart when stirred with the rambutan and cream. The combination of the flavors was perfect, though. The tartness of the cherry and the sweetness of caramel. I decided to repeat the experiment using a more radical combination–lemon-flavored iced green tea mix and rambutan. It was even better. It’s chilling in the fridge right now and we’re going to have it for dessert tonight. Of course, I already sampled it. :razz:
I suppose that you can use other flavors for the gelatin. However, I really suggest choosing a flavor that has a note of sourness to create the proper contrast. If you use almond or vanilla flavored gelatin, well, the aroma will be great, I’m sure, but the dessert will probably be just a combination of all things sweet. I mean, even when baking cakes, one has to add a little salt to balance the sweetness of the sugar. Same principle. Sweet plus sweet plus sweet is boring. Sweet plus tart is better. Lime, lemon, raspberry or blueberry flavored gelatin should be good.
In my case, I used unflavored gelatin and lemon-flavored iced green tea mix plus a little of the syrup from the canned rambutan. You can choose any citrus flavored powdered fruit juice or even fresh juice. Just experiment with different combinations until you can decide which one you like best. Of course, you might have added twenty pounds by then… well, if you only eat a small helping with each experiment, it can’t be that bad. :razz:
You can get the pineapple-stuffed rambutan in can (above, left) and the lemon-flavored iced green tea mix (above, middle) from the supermarket. Actually, we bought the iced green tea to sample it and the sugar in the powdered mix is already in danger of crystallizing. I had been wondering how to “save” it when I dreamed up this dessert this morning.
You can buy caramel from the supermarket or make your own. Just put an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk in a pan, cover with water and simmer for at least two hours, adding more water to replace what is lost through evaporation. Cool and open the can and voila! the milk is gone and there is caramel in its place (above, right). It’s a trick I’ve been doing since I was about nine or ten years old.
The following ingredients are what I actually used. You don’t have to use the same brands.
1 can of pineapple-stuffed rambutan, drained
2 envelopes of Knox unflavored gelatin
3 tbsps. of lemon-flavored iced green tea mix dissolved in 1-1/4 c. of water
1/2 c. of rambutan syrup
1/2 c. of all-purpose cream (I used Nestle)
1/4 c. of caramel or caramelized sweetened condensed milk (please refer to the previous page for instructions)
How to make the dessert :
Heat the rambutan syrup until boiling. Turn off the heat. Sprinkle the gelatin onto the syrup and stir until fully dissolved. Pour in the iced green tea mixture and mix well. Transfer to a pan and cool. Place in the fridge and chill until firm (about two hours).
Using a wire whisk, mix together the caramel and the cream.
Place the rambutan in a large glass or ceramic bowl. Cut the gelatin into 2-inch squares and add to the rambutan. Pour in the cream-caramel mixture and stir a few times. Chill until needed.