I love gelatin desserts. Not the ubiquitous neon hued jello that played heavily at school cafeterias, but all of the the amazing desserts that rely on humble gelatin: from the silky creaminess of panna cottas to the sinful richness of a bittersweet chocolate mousse and especially the simple delight of Coffee Jelly. This Coffee Jelly is perfect for people who don’t like overly sweet desserts. Or for people who just really love coffee. It’s also a wonderful dessert for people who aren’t naturally blessed with baking genes. You are rewarded with a quick and sophisticated dessert without even turning on your oven.
Coffee Jelly is a nostalgic and common dessert in Japan and Vietnam loves their drip coffee sweetened with condensed milk. My Coffee Jelly is a bit of a mashup of the two. It’s completely make ahead and you can do all the prep in less time than it will take you to remember what comes after, “watch it wiggle, see it jiggle”; so let’s get into it.
Making Coffee Jelly
In Japan, coffee jelly is so ubiquitous you’ll find it in every grocery and convenience store, packaged like ready to eat Jello. It’s not very sweet, as Japanese people generally don’t favor super sweet foods. Vietnam, on the other hand, has a prolific pastry and dessert culture. Their coffee jelly is usually a somewhat more complicated affair, stacking layers of sweetened cream with layers of coffee jelly. I keep the simplicity of the Japanese version but use a robust Vietnamese coffee, serving it with dreamy, sweetened condensed milk-it’s the best of both worlds!
Once the gelatin is mixed, it’s time to make the coffee. I like to use the famed chicory coffee from Cafe du Monde in New Orleans. The chicory gives it a very robust, earthy flavor that is similar to Vietnamese coffee. If you would like it less intense, feel free to use whichever ground coffee you prefer.
Once it’s chilled and set, it’s ready to enjoy. I serve it with condensed milk on the side. That way people with a big sweet tooth can add it to their heart’s content. The contrast of the sweet, creamy milk with the rich coffee jelly is like the most heavenly latte you’ve ever had.
Word of caution-this is a caffeinated dessert. So if you are really sensitive to caffeine you might want to enjoy this a little earlier in the day. Hey, there’s no law saying this can’t be breakfast… Whip up this easy, elegant Coffee Jelly and let me know what you think. Rate and comment on the recipe below, and don’t forget to tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen; we love hearing from you!
- 8 grams gelatin powder (1 packet Knox gelatin)
- 3 tablespoons vietnamese coffee and 2 cups boiling water (I use Cafe Du Monde chicory and coffee in the yellow can)
- 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 can condensed milk
- Put the gelatin powder in a bowl and mix with 2 tablespoons of cold water. Set aside.
- Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a small pot and turn off the heat. Add the coffee to the pot and steep for 5 minutes. Strain through a coffee/tea filter.
- Rinse the pot, pour the coffee back in, and put it back on the stove. Add the sugar and bring the coffee to a simmer over high heat. As soon as it starts to bubble, turn off the heat and add the gelatin.
- Mix the gelatin into the coffee with a whisk or spoon for a couple minutes until the gelatin has fully dissolved.
- Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes.
- Pour the mixture into 4 small cups, cover with a lid or plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours, or until the jelly has set.
- Serve coffee jelly with the condensed milk on the side.
Keywords: coffee, desserts, japanese, vietnamese, coffee jelly, sweets, make ahead