David Atherton's recipe for water kefir jelly | The sweet spot

Jellies make a great light dessert after a heavy dinner, and they look really pretty, too. You can make your own water kefir, or just buy one of the many good unpasteurised versions now out there. The jelly works well made with kombucha instead, but I prefer to use water kefir, because it has a lighter flavour. And, as if there weren’t enough microorganisms in this already, the yoghurt ensures you’re having a dessert with maximum diversity.

Water kefir jelly

Water kefir is a probiotic drink that is very easy to make (or grow). All you need is water, sugar and water kefir grains, which are actually not grains at all, but a scoby (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) found naturally in the ountia cactus. These scoby feed on the sugar and multiply, providing you with an effervescent, low-sugar, slightly alcoholic drink that’s teeming with microorganisms. If you make your own, just remember to “burp” your jars every eight hours, otherwise you might have an explosion.

Prep 5 min
Cook 15 min
Chill 2 hr
Serves 4

2 gelatine leaves
75ml cordial – I like pomegranate, especially at this time of year, but use whichever you prefer; alternatively, if you’re using a flavoured water kefir, match the cordial to that
30g runny honey
300g fresh raspberries, or frozen and defrosted (you could use just about any fruit, but avoid mango, pineapple and kiwi, because they’ll interfere with the gelatine setting)
250ml unpasteurised water kefir – I like Agua de Madre
200g natural live yoghurt

Fill a small bowl with cold water and soak the gelatine in it for three minutes, until soft. Squeeze out the gelatine and put it in a second bowl with the cordial and half the honey. Set the bowl over a bain-marie on a medium-low heat and stir until the gelatine dissolves (it melts at 35C). Transfer to a jug and leave to cool to at least below 20C.

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Put 200g raspberries in the base of a jelly mould. Pour the kefir into the cordial jug, swirl it around gently to combine, then pour over the fruit. Chill for two hours, or until set.

Put 50g yoghurt in a bowl with the remaining raspberries and honey, and blitz smooth with a hand blender. Stir this mix through the rest of the yogurt, but only until just rippled.

Once the jelly is set, put the mould in a basin of hot water for a few seconds, then turn out on to a plate and serve drizzled with the yoghurt ripple.


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