The Washington Post

Almond Jelly With Blueberry-Ginger Compote

Almond Jelly With Blueberry-Ginger Compote 4.000

Greg Powers for The Washington Post; food styling by Bonnie S. Benwick

Aug 12, 2018

This cooling dessert represents a marriage of Southern cuisine and the Mississippi Delta's sizable Chinese population, writes chef and cookbook author Virginia Willis. That immigrant community descended from merchants who came to the Delta during Reconstruction.

Make Ahead: The almond jelly needs to be refrigerated for at least 1 hour, to set up. The compote can be refrigerated for a few days in advance.

4 - 6

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4-6 servings; makes one 8-inch pan

  • For the jelly
  • 1 cup boiling water, plus 1/2 cup cool water
  • 1/2 ounce unflavored gelatin (from 2 individual packets)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Pinch fine sea salt
  • 1 cup cold almond milk (may substitute whole milk)
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • For the compote
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 thin slices peeled fresh ginger root, cut into small matchsticks (julienne)
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, stemmed and rinsed if fresh (10 ounces)
  • Finely grated zest plus 1 tablespoon and 1 1/2 teaspoons juice from 1 lemon
  • Pinch sea salt
  • Mint sprigs, for garnish


For the jelly: Pour the 1/2 cup of cool water into a medium bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin across the surface; once it has set up a bit, add the boiling water, stirring until the gelatin has dissolved.

Add the sugar and salt; stir until they have dissolved, then stir in the milk and almond extract. Pour into an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish. Refrigerate for about 1 hour, or until set to a "barely wiggly" consistency.

Meanwhile, make the compote: Combine the water, sugar and ginger in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for 5 minutes, then stir in the blueberries. Reduce the heat to medium; cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring a few times, until the berries begin to burst. Remove from the heat.

Stir in the lemon zest and juice and the salt. Transfer to a bowl; refrigerate until ready to serve.

Cut the slab of jelly into 1-inch squares. Divide them among individual bowls or cups. Spoon the compote and its juices over each portion.

Garnish with mint and serve chilled.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from “Secrets of the Southern Table: A Food Lover’s Tour of the Global South,” by Virginia Willis (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018).

Tested by Kara Elder.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (based on 8): 130

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 0g 0%

Saturated Fat: 0g 0%

Cholesterol: 0mg 0%

Sodium: 75mg 3%

Total Carbohydrates: 33g 11%

Dietary Fiber: 0g 0%

Sugar: 30g

Protein: 0g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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