Standing in front of the fridge in despair, prodding a very runny jelly? Running out of time for your jelly pudding to set and wonder what to do?
Yes, I know, I've been there too...
With party guest arriving any minute and you worry whether the jelly dessert will set in time, it should be served.
So, how long does jelly take to set?
I'm sorry to be the bearer of a bad news, but most jellies take at least 2-4 hrs to set in fridge (which is set to about 5C). But some large jellies (say if you use one of those lovely oldfashioned jelly moulds) might take even longer. If you have the time, just make the jelly the day before you needed and it will always set fine.
How long does jelly take to set in the freezer?
If you are wondering how to speed up the jelly firming up process, the only thing you can do (if the jelly is already made) is to carefully place in the freezer. Be careful to keep the jelly level, so that you don't end up with a lopsided jelly. Freezer will cut down the setting time by about half. Make sure that you check the jelly every 30 minutes or so (depending on the size) as you don't want the jelly to actually freeze. It tends to change it's structure and looks crystalised.
What's slows down the setting process?
Adding alcohol to your jelly (say if you are making alcoholic jelly shots) will slow down the setting process considerably. The higher alcohol content the slower the setting point. The best thing to do is to make these the day before you need them or use smaller glases.
Also, don't be tempted to just replace the water amount in your recipe with pure alcohol. The jelly will never really set with such a high alcohol content. Aim to replace about 1/3 of the water content in your recipe with your chosen alcohol. This way you'll have deliciously tasting alcoholic jelly, but it will also set properly.
Another thing that always slows down the setting process is using fresh pineaple or pineaple juice. This is because pineaple contains enzymes that break down the pectin in gelatine.
What can you do to speed up the setting process?
- Place the jelly on the coolest place in your fridge (if you have a glass shelf) and moving the jelly mould around to always stay on a cold spot.
- You can also get a very large container, add loads of icecubes and place the jelly mould on top of the ice cubes. Place the whole container in the fridge. The icecubes will give the jelly a bit of a head start.
- Cool the whole jelly mould with the jelly in the freezer (put the freezer on the lowest setting, if you can)
- Cooling down the jelly mould in advance (in fridge) - providing that you are using traditional thick glass jelly mould - also helps
- Instead of water (when you are making the recipe) use the equivalent of the water as an ice. You can either weight out the water in advance and then freeze it or if you are using ice cubes, weight out the water volume of one ice cube and calculate the water proportion based on that.
- Make the jelly up with slightly less water than recommended. This will make slightly firmer jelly and it will set quicker
- Instead of using one large jelly mould, divide the jelly into smaller portions. These will cool down quicker and set quicker too.
Got another quick tip on how long does jelly take to set? Share it with me in the comments below!
Until next time - happy jelly making...
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