I had been contemplating on making jello shots for quite some time until the opportunity came along: my friends, who recently came back from Costa Rica, were having this get together party to share some stories and show pictures from their colourful tropical holidays. I thought I’d contribute to the theme with these petty looking party treats.
Most of alcohol-free Petite Watermelons recipes I saw online were intended for kiddie parties. I found the one which I liked the most in Victoria Belanger book Hello, Jell-O!, got fascinated by the idea and with an addition of vodka they became an excellent adult party dessert and decoration.
Makes 20 slices
1 cup boiling water
100g strawberry-flavored gelatin
1 cup chopped fresh strawberries
1/2 cup vodka (or water for non-alcoholic version)
5 limes, halved, pulp scooped out and discarded
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
Dissolve the gelatin in the boiling water. Blend strawberries, vodka and gelatin mixture until liquified. Pour the liquid into a bowl and refrigerate for 1-1,5 hours until thickened.
While waiting for the gelatin to set, get the limes ready: cut them lengthwise and scoop out the flesh.
When the gelatin gets the consistency of a thick pudding, skim off the foam formed on the top of the bowl and mix the gelatin so the strawberry purée distributes evenly (it tends to sink to the bottom of the bowl while being chilled). Spoon the gelatin into the lime rind halves and leave them in the fridge for a minimum of 3 hours until firm.
Halve the lime rinds again and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Tips & Tricks:
Here are a few tricks I used when preparing the jello shots, which hopefully would save some time for you and make the process easier without learning it the hard way.
Leave plenty of time for both preparation and decorations. Don’t do it a few hours before the party to avoid the panic that the jello is not firm enough or to run out of time for neat decorations.
Think twice before deciding to make a double batch like I did. Scooping out the limes means soaking your hands with highly acidic lime juice for more than an hour. It is tolerable when scooping out a few limes, but the more you scoop, the more your hands sting. Washing them with cold water regularly helped a lot. Thin rubber gloves might do the trick to prevent your skin from the acid.
A cup of non-chopped strawberries is a very vague description of the amount and the actual volume can vary depending on the size of chunks and how packed the cup is, so I added a bit more gelatin than the original recipe suggested (it said 85g) and even then the jello turned out medium firm. You wouldn’t want the jello to be rubber hard, but in general the firmer the jello, the easier it is to cut the filled rinds.
If the strawberries are not that sweet, you might want to add extra sugar. Taste gelatin mixture after blending it and add some sugar if needed. I added about two tablespoons of sugar to the mix.Scooping off the limes clean can get really tricky, especially if the rind is thin. It took me a few limes to figure out what is the best way of doing it. My kitchen bench looked like surgical table with all the tools I tried applying (teaspoon, knife, scissors, tweezers, potato peeler) until I found the combination which worked the best. Running the tip of the knife along the inner perimeter of the rind and then using thin metal teaspoon with a pointy bowl worked the best for me. I saw a video tutorial suggesting using a manual juicer to get the flesh out and then removing the membranes, but I found it easier to spoon out most of the flesh with the membranes in one go, rather then pluck the membranes one by one after squeezing the flesh out.
Rinse the scooped out lime rinds so you get rid of the residue of the juice, which might prevent the jello from sticking to the rind properly.
When you are about to cut jello filled lime halves, put them upside down on the cutting board and use very sharp and thin knife, otherwise you’d risk destroying them by squeezing the jello out.
You’ll have plenty of lime flesh leftovers. Rather than tipping them out to the waste, squeeze the juice and use it for cocktails or lemonade.