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Chapter 17 aspic and gelee

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Food Production, Culinary practice and food preparation

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Chapter 17 aspic and gelee

  1. 1. CHAPTER 17: ASPIC AND GELEE Aspic and Gelee play an important part in the preparation of many cold dishes that are created in the Grade Manger. The glistening coating or the sparkling bases help to highlight the dishes that are being presented. Proper presentation and application of aspic and gelee are essential to assure maximum impact for a large piece of meat or fish. There is a certain amount of confusion related to the term ‘aspic’ and ‘gelee’ and very often they are used inter changeably and the same confusion prevails when the terms ‘aspic’ and ‘aspic jelly’ are used. Aspic, Aspic jelly and Gelee are three different items and we will make an attempt to distinguish the three. A Gelee or jelly in English is a gelatinous meat or fish stock. A Gelee becomes an aspic jelly when it is clarified. The word aspic is used to refer to a combination of cold meats, fish, vegetables or eggs, which are set in an aspic jelly in a decorative mould. When thoroughly chilled, the arrangement is de molded onto a service platter and perhaps surrounded with aspic jelly croutons. Aspic Jelly must always be crystal clear and of a light golden (amber) color. The quantities of gelatin used in the aspic jelly should be of the correct proportion so that the jelly, when set, will neither be too rubbery, nor too light in consistency. Moreover, the aspic jelly provides special protection for cold dishes. A display of poultry, fish, game or similar ingredients when coated with aspic jelly will keep its freshness and original flavor when covered with aspic jelly. The making of fresh aspic is an elaborate process and in the modern kitchen is fairly time consuming. It is possible nowadays to purchase aspic powder and the results are acceptable especially if time is of the essence, and does not allow for the preparation of fresh aspic jelly Classical Method:
  2. 2. The classical method of preparing an aspic jelly is to make a stock with the addition of more collagen rich products. In particular, these would include pork skin, calves feet, knuckle joints and shank bones. There are two major steps in the classical preparation of aspic jelly. First comes the preparation of the stock and this is followed by the clarification. This type of aspic jelly depends solely on the amount of gelatin present in the bones for gelling. In short, the preparation of aspic consists of the following steps: 1. A stock must be made using gelatinous items such as pork skin, calves feet, knuckle joints and shank bones. 2. The stock must be reduced first and then clarified with aromatic vegetables, wine and seasoning.. The Quick Method: The quick method of making aspic jelly is to add commercial gelatin to a ready consomme. This method is very practical for a busy kitchen that uses a limited amount of aspic jelly in its day to day production. The flavour and clarity of this type of an aspic jelly will depend upon the quality of the consomme. The Commercial Powder: Commercial powders are no doubt, the quickest method of producing aspic jelly. Commercially, savoury aspic jelly is available in dry powder form and more recently in sheet form as well. They save time and effort n the part of the chef but has a lower quality of flavor since little or no meat is used in the manufacture. It is reccomended that their flavour be fortified. The premium brands are of fairly good quality. They are useful when small quantities of aspic jelly are required periodically and must be re constituted according to the instructions of the manufacturer.
  3. 3. The Addition of Wine: A lot of chefs recommend the addition of wines to aspic jelly to enhance the flavor and the taste of the product. If used, the wine should be added when the aspic jelly is still liquid. This will ensure that the full aroma of the wine is preserved. The recommended wines are port, madeira, sherry, marsala and crisp white wines. Characteristics of Good Aspic Jelly: Aspic Jelly can be graded on the following parameters Flavor Tooth Clarity Colour The flavour of an aspic jelly should be intense enough to make the mouth water. Yet, it should not be so strong so as to over power the flavor of the main ingredient of the product. There are three aspects to the flavour of the aspic jelly. The first is the depth of character. This comes from the proper preparation of the stock. The flavour should not be watery and weak. It should be full bodied and robust. Seasoning is another area. The aspic jelly needs to be properly seasoned, and here we are primarily talking salt. The flavours of the ingredients need to be released. And lastly, there is the matter of acidity. Slightly elevating the level of acidity will serve to accent and enliven the flavours already present. This can be done by adding wine, lemon juice or a flavoured vinegar. However, adding acid must be done with care. Remember, acid can interfere with the gelling of the aspic jelly and alter the strength of the gel. Tooth is the density or the elasticity of the jelly. The jelly should be firm enough to hold the desired shape, yet, once it is in the mouth, it should dissolve immediately. The jelly should not be rubbery or chewy. There are
  4. 4. two factors which determine the mouth feel of aspic jelly. First is the ratio of gelatin in the jelly. The other is the service temperature of the jelly. Aspic jelly must be strong enough to allow clean slicing, yet delicate enough to offer a good tooth. The best way to achieve this is to slice the product as soon as it comes out of the refrigerator and then allowing the slices to warm up slightly, softening the gel, before service . Aspic jelly should be absolutely crystal clear. The range of colors in aspic jelly lie between the rich amber almost brown color that can be used for game, to a nearly colorless one for fish. Additional tomes of red can be obtained and achieved depending on the wine used in the preparation. Handling and Storing Aspic Jelly: Aspic Jelly is a potentially hazardous food, an ideal environment for the growth of bacteria. It is high in moisture content, high in protein and comes from an animal source. In order to prolong its shelf life and to ensure its wholesomeness, car must be taken in storing prepared aspic jelly. Use only clean sanitized containers for storage. Once the jelly has set, handle it as little as possible. This will help minimize the growth of bacteria. Allow the jelly to set without stirring. When it sets as a single block, it seals itself exposing only the top surface to contamination. Once set, the gel should be covered. Cooling of the aspic jelly should be achieved rapidly. Uses of Aspic Jelly: 1. To coat showpieces such as whole turkeys and hams.
  5. 5. 2. For Aspic sheets, Aspic mirrors and Aspic cut outs. Decorative center pieces can be made using colored aspic. 3. To fill cavities in Pates. 4. To line moulds for cold buffet presentation. 5. To glaze whole terrines and galantines and items coated with chaud froid. 6. To prepare aspic croutons which can be used to garnish cold platters or even added into salads 7. Chopped aspic, which can be used as a base to present a variety of cold meats on the buffet. 8. To glaze canapes, zakuski and other hors d’oeuvres. Gelee also has its uses in the kitchen. As explained earlier, gelee is stock that has been reduced and cooled down to a gelatinous consistency. It can be used to enrich soups, sauces and gravies. It can also enhance the taste of stews an sauces. Gelee can be used to glaze cold meat products to prevent them from drying out during the long presentation times on the buffet counter. Vernon Coelho Ihm Mumbai 2008-09
  6. 6. 2. For Aspic sheets, Aspic mirrors and Aspic cut outs. Decorative center pieces can be made using colored aspic. 3. To fill cavities in Pates. 4. To line moulds for cold buffet presentation. 5. To glaze whole terrines and galantines and items coated with chaud froid. 6. To prepare aspic croutons which can be used to garnish cold platters or even added into salads 7. Chopped aspic, which can be used as a base to present a variety of cold meats on the buffet. 8. To glaze canapes, zakuski and other hors d’oeuvres. Gelee also has its uses in the kitchen. As explained earlier, gelee is stock that has been reduced and cooled down to a gelatinous consistency. It can be used to enrich soups, sauces and gravies. It can also enhance the taste of stews an sauces. Gelee can be used to glaze cold meat products to prevent them from drying out during the long presentation times on the buffet counter. Vernon Coelho Ihm Mumbai 2008-09

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