Sparkling Wine or Sprakling Grape Juice Gelee with Cranberries & How to use Agar Agar

by Sala @ Veggie Belly on December 8, 2009

sprakling-juice-or-wine-gelee-with-cranberries

This is basically jellied fruit juice or wine with cranberries suspended in it. A beautiful, light, and easy dessert for any occasion. Use any kind of juice or wine and add any fruit you like. Read on for some great gelee variations.

I used agar agar to set the gelee. This recipe using agar agar is inspired by Mark Bittman’s book, How to cook everything vegetarian.

agar-or-kanten-bars

Agar-agar, also known as kanten is a form of dried seaweed. It’s a fantastic vegetarian substitute for gelatin.  Gelatin, for those of you who don’t know, is a pork product. So if you are vegetarian or want to avoid pork products and derivatives, agar-agar is the best substitute.

Agar-agar comes in 3 forms:
-          Bars
-          Flakes
-          Powder

Basic recipe: How to set or jellify liquids using agar-agar or kanten

1 bar agar (0.25 oz) or 2 tablespoons agar flakes or 2 teaspoons agar powder
Note: Agar powder is a direct substitute for gelatin. So 2 teaspoon gelatin = 2 teaspoon agar powder
2 cups liquid (fruit juice, wine etc)

Place the agar in the liquid and bring to a boil. Boil until the agar melts completely. Continue cooking on medium-high heat for about 5 minutes or till the mixture begins to gel and thicken. Pour into a serving  dish and place in the refrigerator to thicken further. The liquid will get thick and jell-o-like in about an hour.

Acidic juices may require more agar to set.

sparkling-juice-or-wine-gelee-with-cranberries3

As you can see from the set gelees above, agar, unlike gelatin doesnt set clearly. So if your gelee is a little cloudy, dont worry, thats how agar sets. You can use any fruit juice you like for these gelees. I like sparkling juice or sparkling wine, champagne, or prosecco for this because the little bubble suspended in the gelee are beautiful.

Some gelee variations

substitute these ingredients in the recipe below

- Coffee and coconut milk gelee. Serve this after an asian style meal
- Champagne or Prosecco gelee with orange segments. Like a jellied mimosa; great for a holiday brunch
- Sparkling apple juice gelee with pomegranate seeds. A beautiful, refreshing dessert
- Lemonade gelee with lemon zest. Great end to a summer lunch, or serve this as a palate cleanser inbetween courses

Where to buy Agar agar

Any health food store or Asian store should have it.
You can also buy online, there is plenty of choice on Amazon.com

cranberry-floating


Sparkling Grape Juice or Sparkling Wine Gelee with Cranberries Recipe


Serves 2-3

½ cup water
½ cup sugar
½ bar of agar (or 1 tablespoon agar flakes or 1 teaspoon agar powder)
1 ½ cups sparkling grape juice or sparkling wine
a few cranberries

Run a little water over the agar bar to make it soft. Then tear it into small pieces. Omit this step if using flakes or powder. In a small saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil. When the sugar just about melts, add the agar pieces. Boil gently till the agar has completely melted. Continue cooking the liquid for another 4-5 minutes. Turn off heat. Slowly pour in the sparkling juice or wine. Stir gently, being careful not to release too many bubbles. Pour this mixture into champagne flutes or a serving dish, sprinkle cranberries on top and place in the fridge till set, about 1 hour.

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Comments

comments

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Manasi December 8, 2009 at 6:44 pm

STUNNING! STUNNING! STUNNING! pictures.
Pure eye-candy!

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2 Jacqueline December 8, 2009 at 7:14 pm

What a brilliant post. I haven’t used agar agar before and you have taken the mystery out of it for me. Now I can’t wait to get started!

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3 nags December 8, 2009 at 10:14 pm

omg! your pics!! Especially love the ones of the bubbly :)

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4 Soma December 8, 2009 at 10:28 pm

SPECTACULAR!! I am just scrolling up and down not having enough of the photos.
Sala I got the Agar sticks (did not see that mentioned here).. Haven’t used it yet. I guess I will just break them and measure in spoons as flakes I guess. I have not been daring to use it; but now with this post, I have the courage to do it.

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

by sticks, do you mean the thread like ones? you probably want to measure them by weight (see ‘basic recipe’ above for how many ounces).

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Soma Reply:

Yes the threads. I do not have a scale.. high time I get myself one.

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5 Pavani December 8, 2009 at 10:39 pm

Beautiful Pictures.. They look absolutely stunning.

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6 Sadhana December 8, 2009 at 10:51 pm

WOW WHAT BEAUTIFUL PICTURES, don’t know which one to look at. SUPERB.

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7 Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets December 9, 2009 at 1:57 am

You are absolutely right, the bubbles are beautiful, as are all your photos here. I can’t imagine how you suspended that cranberry above the others unless you captured it midair? Regardless, I will definitely keep this in mind for a light, sophisticated dessert.

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

thanks xiaolu :) i stuck a tooth pick in the cranberry to elevate it from the rest. i shot from an angle where you cant see the tooth pick under the cranberry.

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8 Rachel Cotterill December 9, 2009 at 2:54 am

Beautiful pictures. I love the bubbles :)

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9 Dana December 9, 2009 at 3:11 am

I have been wondering how to use agar agar for some time. I’ve used it when it’s been specifically called for in a vegan recipe, but haven’t tried to substitute it directly for gelatin. I’m so curious to try it now! I’ve got to find the powder because all I have are flakes. Thank you so much for this! And, of course, amazing photos!

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10 Vinolia December 9, 2009 at 6:06 am

brilliant photography, I simply couldn’t take off my eyes from the cranberries :) :) nice recipe and useful tips for using the agar agar!!

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11 Vinolia December 9, 2009 at 6:08 am

brilliant photography!!! couldn’t take my eyes off from the cranberries :) nice recipe and instructions for using agar agar !

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12 Laavanya December 9, 2009 at 9:51 am

I bought agar agar a while ago with panna cotta in my mind but have been hesitating. I thought this doesn’t require boiling? I hope to try soon.
I simply love the pics esp. the one with those bubbles. What a pretty dessert.

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13 shubha December 9, 2009 at 3:22 pm

OMG! those bubbles are out of the world.simply speechless

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14 lisaiscooking December 9, 2009 at 3:43 pm

I didn’t know agar agar is a direct substitute for gelatin. Great to know!

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15 Shankari December 9, 2009 at 3:45 pm

Absolutely stunning! Great idea too

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16 Cham December 9, 2009 at 5:59 pm

The last one is a brilliant capture! Great festive look the sparkling effect!

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17 amy December 9, 2009 at 11:31 pm

I love this idea. I may try to use it : )

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18 Beatrice December 10, 2009 at 12:45 am

The (final) floating cranberry photo is amazing. Also, it was nice to learn a bit more about agar agar, which I haven’t really used.

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19 Sushma Mallya December 10, 2009 at 2:38 am

Wow u got excellect photographic skills ,wonderful clicks

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20 deana@lostpastremembered December 10, 2009 at 9:03 am

I couldn’t believe the champagne was jelly!!! The bubbles! Agar agar is something I need to try!
Thanks for the fabulous post and photographs

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21 Gala December 10, 2009 at 5:12 pm

Amazing! But how can it be that the sparkling wine still has..well, sparkles after it has been cooking?….

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

you dont cook the juice/wine.

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22 Veggie Wedgie December 10, 2009 at 9:19 pm

Beautiful and elegant!

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23 shaz December 12, 2009 at 1:04 am

You take the most breathtaking photos Sala! The shot with the bubbles in the glass look absolutely brilliant. Such a cool idea, going to have to try that because I want bubbles too!

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24 Pam December 16, 2009 at 9:03 pm

Beautiful!

Enjoy!

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25 Sophie December 20, 2009 at 4:31 am

Thanks for this useful info & lovely dessert!! I am just about to learn how to use it!!

I love your explanation & your divine but easy & very tasty dessert! Thanks a lot!!

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26 anushruti December 27, 2009 at 7:11 am

I’m a huge fan of agar agar and use it for all my puddings and desserts. Love your pictures!

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27 Madhuli December 28, 2009 at 1:54 am

Stunning photos and very informative post.Thanks

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28 Cynthia January 2, 2010 at 2:42 pm

Happy New Year sweetie!

I love ALL the pics but the last one is particularly awesome!

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29 Alessandra January 2, 2010 at 6:08 pm

Hi, first time here, lovely space! I am a vegetarian and use often agar agar, usually the powder. I like really soft jellies, stable but not ‘crunchy’ ( a problem which I find with agar agar, sometimes it sets too hard!), so I find the powder good to control.

Congratulation again on your site, and I will be visiting you again

ciao
Alessandra

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30 Soma January 2, 2010 at 7:11 pm

Congrats again Sala!! I knew in my heart that it would be one.. Would have been disappointed if it didn’t. Well deserved.

Happy New Year!!

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31 Wizzythestick January 5, 2010 at 9:02 pm

Absolutely stunning pictures. Thanks for the info on Agar agar. I wonder how it sets up in panna cotta.

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32 Deepa January 17, 2010 at 11:54 am

What an awesome Blog! The pictures dangerous – the screen may end up getting licked! can you PLEASE Please please pretty please enable an e-mail subscribe???? Reader can be a drag to follow!

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33 meeso January 30, 2010 at 11:44 am

This is a beautiful dessert! I got some new glasses for Christmas that would be perfect for this… I will definitely be trying this soon :)

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34 chandana February 12, 2010 at 11:56 am

Stunning pics of the jelly in the flute…and the bubbles too.

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