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tips for working with sheet/leaf gelatin

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I seem to be gelatin-challenged and need to learn about the substance for work. I understand in theory how to bloom gelatin and work with it, but don't really feel comfortable working with it. I've run into problems working with it where the base is too cold and the gelatin chunks up rather than nicely dissolving. I don't eat a lot of meat and so tend not to eat other people's gelatin desserts (mousses, panna cottas, etc...not just jello) nor create them myself. What experiences have you had when working with sheet gelatin and do you have any tips to pass along? After a whole afternoon in the library and a dose of Harold McGee I'm still not gelatin savvy...

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  1. My experience using sheet gelatin was at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris over the summer. The sheets were placed in an iced water bath and then removed after 3-4 minutes, squeezed out by hand and placed in a hot mixture. Then whisked quickly into the hot mixture. I made both a raspberry sauce with pureed raspberries as well as a chocolate filling -- both right off the stove before adding the gelatin. It was simple. Don't be hesitant. (BTW: the 2 courses were terrific there, but the best was at Escoffier at the Ritz.)