Friday, July 4, 2014

How do you celebrate an American holiday like Fourth of July in Poland?

With Polish vodka, of course!

Well, I do have a lot of the traditional foods prepared for our expat 4th of July BBQ tonight such as: hamburgers, hot dogs, sausages, tortilla chips and my homemade Mexican salsa, chips with Ranch dressing, pasta salad, broccoli salad and 2 dozen colorful vanilla cupcakes. Why not add an adult beverage that you can slurp such as Red, White and Blue Jelly (Jello) shots?

I’m sure our American, Australian, Brazilian and Polish-American friends will appreciate the effort and tastiness of these small jiggly cubes.

Unfortunately, my “blue” layer turned more purple because I used blueberries to make that layer instead of neon blue boxed Jello, which we don’t have here in Poland.

If you want to replicate these at home, you need to plan on at least 8 hours so you have time to allow each layer to set. I did the process over two days just to be on the same side. If you want to give it a go, here’s the recipe I adapted from Jelly Shot Test Kitchen. I think it would be fun to adjust the colors for other holidays too!

Wishing all my American readers at home and abroad a very Happy Fourth of July as well!

Cheers, Joy
Fourth of July jelly shots served on my Polish pottery.
Red, White and Blue Jelly Vodka Shots

Blueberry Layer:
8          oz.                   hot water
2          cups                 Polish wild blueberries or normal blueberries
8          oz.                   (Polish) vodka
4          Tablespoons    fresh lemon juice
4          Tablespoons    honey
6          each                 silver gelatin sheets, bloomed, or 1 packet of Knox unflavored gelatin (If you want to use sheet vs. powdered gelatin, please read this helpful conversion gelatin chart.)

In a small pot, heat the water, lemon juice, honey and blueberries together. Let steep about 20 minutes off the burner.
Strain the blueberries, pressing down to keep all the blueberry juice.
Let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk in the bloomed gelatin sheets and vodka.
In a small, glass baking dish (9-inch by 9-inch), pour a few drops of cooking oil and wipe out with a paper towel, coating the entire vessel with the barest layer. I placed and smoothed out a layer of plastic wrap on top of this.
Then, pour in the blueberry mixture in and set to chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to overnight, making certain it is level.

White layer:
(NOTE: I only used half of this mixture in my pan because it yielded too much.)

8          oz.                   lemon infused vodka
6          ea.                    lemon zest peeled from 6 lemons
6.5       oz.                   fresh lemon juice
1/2       cup (110g.)      sugar
12        each                 silver gelatin sheets, bloomed
8          oz.                   hot water

Using a vegetable peeler, peel off the lemon zest from 6 lemons. Set aside in a bowl with the lemon juice and vodka. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate for at least 2 hours at room temperature.

After 2 hours, strain the lemon mixture.

Heat the water and sugar together until the sugar is dissolved.
Then, whisk in the lemon infused vodka and the bloomed gelatin, stirring until the gelatin is dissolved.

Carefully, pour (ONLY HALF) the lemon jelly mixture over the blueberry layer. Place the pan back in the refrigerator, again checking for levelness. Chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Red layer:
1          box                  strawberry (or any kind of red color) Jello (NOTE: The Polish brand of gelatin worked perfectly for this for me.)
8          oz.                   (Polish) vodka 
8          oz.                   hot water        
6          each                 silver gelatin sheets, bloomed, or 1 packet of Knox unflavored gelatin

Heat the water. Stir in the strawberry jello mix, stirring until the gelatin is dissolved, about 5 minutes.

Then, whisk in the gelatin sheets and vodka.
Carefully, pour the red jelly mixture over the white layer. Place the pan back in the refrigerator, again checking for levelness. Chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.

When ready to serve, you can simply pull up the plastic wrap out of the baking pan and place the layered jelly on a cutting board.
Use a very sharp knife and cut the jelly into squares, or use a cookie cutter for shapes. I cut my jelly into 1 ¼-inch cubes, so my tray yielded about 24 jelly cubes. You will end up with some scraps if you don’t use the side pieces.

Garnish with a blueberry or raspberry.

Slurp and enjoy!
An alcohol-free jelly dessert for the kiddos that are coming to our party.
Topped with sweetened whipped cream.
And of course, I had to bake something too. Vanilla cupcakes with Italian buttercream frosting.

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jaz@octoberfarm said...

i think your look fabulous. much better than the fake blue color. i bet your friends will love what you've done here. have a great 4th!

Alex, Speaking Denglish said...

Color me impressed!! You could go into business this is all so beautiful.

Joy said...

@Joyce, Thanks so much! Hope you had a wonderful 4th with your family too! The blueberry flavor was delicious!

Joy said...

Thanks, Alex! I loce doing parties like this for friends, but i don't miss the crazy restaurant hours I used to work as a fulltime pastry chef! ;-)

Magda said...

I love how you use Polish vodka and blueberries to celebrate 4th July! I've been meaning to make booze jelly, I was thinking apple juice and zubrowka ;)
Happy belated 4th July!

Ozlem's Turkish Table said...

these all look a-ma-zing Joy, you're a master!:) many thanks for our fabulous vodka, can't wait to try your treats! Ozlem x