Gwai Fa Go (Osmanthus Flower Jelly)

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This is one of my favourite desserts at dim sum. We came across a recipe when we were researching snacks for Chinese New Year, so of course we had to try it! The first recipe we found used only agar to set the jelly. It held the liquid, but the texture had way too much crunch and not enough of a softer jelly feel. We decided we needed a mix of gelatine and agar — it turned out that finding the right proportions were a lot harder than we thought. After numerous trials, this is the recipe we settled on! We are pretty happy with it, but I guess it all comes down to personal taste. If you like a bit more crunch, then you can add a little agar and take out some of the gelatine mass. If you don’t like any crunch at all, you could try using only gelatine (though we’ve been strongly cautioned that is not authentic). For a little more firmness, you could reduce the amount of tea (or simply simmer for a bit longer to reduce the water content). There are so many variables!

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Ingredients:
4.3g agar powder
50g gelatine mass*
82g rock sugar
690g chrysanthemum tea (2 3/4 cup)
1.2g dried osmanthus flower (1 tbsp)
4g dried goji berries (1 tbsp)

*1 part gelatine powder hydrated in 5 parts water. A detailed post on gelatine mass is coming soon!

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Instructions
1. Simmer tea and sugar until completely dissolved.
2. Let cool then add agar to hydrate.
3. Add osmanthus flower and goji berries, then bring to a simmer again.
4. Simmer for about 2 minutes, remove from heat and add gelatine mass. Mix until completely dissolved.
4. Let mixture cool for about 30 minutes**. Once it has started to thicken slightly (but before it has started to solidify) pour into silicone moulds or a 8×8″ pan lined with plastic wrap and let set. This will help to ensure everything remains suspended when the jelly sets.

**Alternatively, you can add the mixture to the moulds directly. Then, as it starts to thicken, stir with toothpick to distribute the goji berries and flowers. The idea is to avoid having everything settle at the bottom.

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Variations: We’ve been told that, you can also use citrus peel instead of goji berries. Pomelo segments instead of peel/ goji berries are also a nice twist!

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We had these cute little silicone moulds that I thought were perfect for bite-sized jellies, but a square pan works just as well! Once the jelly is set you can simply cut them to size.

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