Jelly is an easy dessert that can be enjoyed on its own, in a fruit salad, cake or pudding. You can mould jelly into several interesting shapes and colours to match a celebration theme. While jelly is simple to prepare, it must be made well in advance as it needs time to set. However, there are some preparation techniques that you can use to set jelly faster, especially if you are in a hurry or are running short on fridge space.
Chill the jelly mould before you prepare the jelly. Place a metal mould in the freezer for 10 minutes. Jelly sets faster in metal containers rather than in moulds made from glass or other materials.
Dissolve the jelly cubes thoroughly in boiling water, in a separate jug or bowl. Follow the preparation instructions on the packet. Use a metal spoon to stir and dissolve the jelly until you get a clear liquid.
Add ice cubes instead of cold water to the liquid. Use the same proportion of ice cubes as that required for the cold water. Stir vigorously until the liquid thickens. Scoop out the ice cubes that have not dissolved and discard them. The ice cubes will help set the jelly faster.
Pour the thickened jelly liquid in the chilled mould. Chill in the fridge for half an hour for a soft-set jelly, or one hour for a firm mould.
When preparing a layered jelly mould, chill each layer until it is slightly set but not firm, before adding the next layer of jelly to set. This will prevent the layers from bleeding while you slip the jelly from the mould.
If you want to set fruits with the jelly, add cooked or tinned fruits to the liquid, once the ice cubes have dissolved. Do not use fresh fruit, as the enzymes in the fruit will prevent the gelatin from setting.