I love to eat in on Valentine’s night. If you are dining à deux, it means you can choose your version of romance – whether box set, candles or cards without having to worry about appearances (or how well you are getting on!) – or you can make a party of it with friends. The texture of these gently wobbly, tequila-spiked jellies makes them absurdly pleasing to eat.
Pink poached rhubarb jellies with white chocolate and olive oil cream
These look glorious layered in glasses, but you can also turn them out. The white chocolate cream is a great foil for the blushing pink jelly.
Prep 15 min
Cook 25 min
Chill 4 hr
1 star anise
Juice and zest 2 oranges
Juice and zest 2 limes, plus more zest to serve
120g caster sugar
6 leaves gelatine
3 tbsp tequila (or grappa) (optional)
2-3 tbsp pine nuts, toasted, to serve
For the white chocolate cream
200ml double cream
80g white chocolate
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Wipe the rhubarb with a clean, damp cloth. Cut it into 3-4cm lengths and put in a deep, wide pan with the star anise, orange zest and juice, lime zest, sugar and four tablespoons of water. Cover with a round of greaseproof paper, put on a medium heat and poach for 15 minutes, until soft.
Meanwhile, pour just enough cold water over the gelatine leaves to cover, and leave to soften for five minutes. Once soft, dissolve the gelatine in the water – either in the microwave for a minute or two, or in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Pour in the hot liquid from the rhubarb and stir to combine, ensuring that the gelatine has completely dissolved. Add the rhubarb and the rest of its juices, remove the star anise, then whizz the mixture to a smooth puree.
Add the tequila, lime juice and 100ml water, whizz again and pour into six pretty glasses or jelly moulds. Refrigerate for at least four hours, or overnight.
When you are ready to eat, gently whip the cream to soft peaks. Melt the white chocolate in a microwave or bain-marie, then whisk in a few tablespoons of the cream. Once combined, stir in a third more of the cream, mix well, then repeat until all the cream is incorporated. Finally, whip in the olive oil.
If you are turning the jellies out, pour boiling water into a bowl wide enough to fit the moulds. Dip each jelly into the water for a few seconds and then turn out on to plates. Decorate with the white chocolate cream, toasted pine nuts and lime zest, and serve.
And for the rest of the week …
The poached rhubarb is delicious with granola and yoghurt for breakfast – or make double and set half aside to make a stunning rhubarb ripple ice-cream. Try using the jelly recipe to make a brilliantly pink winter trifle (decorate with silver balls and pink edible glitter, if celebrating).