Friday, July 02, 2021


I have always loved gelée and all gel-based confections, so no wonder this crimson beauty became an instant favourite for me. Ruby red berries on a bed of rich white chocolate custard; is there a better way to celebrate the long summer days and abundance of fruit?
Use whichever combination of berries you love for this delight; each and every one of them will be marvellous. My favourite is the medley of strawberries, cherries, raspberries, a few blackberries, and a handful of sweet cherries, for the aroma. I wholeheartedly suggest using wild strawberries, if you can find them, as they definitely give a unique charm to this treat.
This truly is a signature summer dessert, with vibrant fresh berries, sparkling champagne, and a spoonful of sweet cream. Simply perfect for a summer brunch or an afternoon treat. Serve it well chilled, with a glass of champagne, and in good company.

For the white chocolate vegan custard
650 millilitres soy milk
30 grams cornflour
50 grams granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
150 grams vegan white chocolate
For the vegan berry champagne gelée
1 litre champagne
600 grams red berries
200 grams granulated sugar
90 grams cornflour
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
For the decoration
200 millilitres plant double cream
30 grams icing sugar, sifted
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Sift the cornflour into a small bowl, add in the sugar, and whisk well. Take about 100 millilitres of cold soy milk, pour it over the cornflour and sugar, and whisk until a smooth batter forms. Pour the rest of the milk into a heavy-bottomed saucepan, add in the vanilla, and place it over medium-high heat. Once it starts to boil gently, pour in the cornflour mixture, and cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes, until it thickens and resembles a soft custard.
Once ready, remove it from the heat, and immediately add in the white chocolate. Let it stand for a minute or so, so the chocolate starts to melt, and then whisk or stir vigorously until completely melted and blended. Divide the custard between six large serving glasses, cover the tops with cling film, and let them cool down to room temperature.
While the custard is cooling down, make the champagne berry gelée. Just like before, sift the cornflour into a medium bowl, add in the sugar, and whisk well. Take out about 200 millilitres of champagne and pour it over the cornflour, being careful it does not bubble over. Mix gently until a thick batter forms, and then set aside. Pour the rest of the champagne into a large, heavy-bottomed pot, add in the berries, and place the pot over medium heat.
When it starts moderately boiling, start gently stirring the fruit, simply moving it around the pot, for about 5 minutes, so the champagne reduces slightly, and the fruit cooks down into it. Gently press one of the strawberries, and if it is soft, the mixture is ready, so pour in the cornflour batter and the vanilla, and cook for about 3-4 minutes, constantly mixing with a wooden spoon or a spatula, until a gelée forms. It will be almost transparent, but vibrant red in colour. Remove it from the heat, and let it start cooling down.
Because it is a rather large quantity, it will take a bit of time to cool down enough to be poured over the white chocolate custard, which, in turn, gives the custard even more time to set up. Once the gelée is at room temperature, but still has not set yet, divide it into six portions, and gently pour over the custard in each of the glasses. Cover the tops with cling film, and let them cool completely in the refrigerator.
Just before serving, whip up some plant double cream with a touch of icing sugar and vanilla, top each of the serving glasses, and add a few frozen berries. Serve well chilled. Yields 6 generous servings. © Tina Vesić 2021