Jelly and custard

Jelly and custard

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  • 8 - 10
  • Easy
  • 20 minutes
  • 1 hour, plus setting time
  • Rooiberg Spumante Doux Sparkling Wine Non-Vintage


  • For the jelly:
  • 2½ cups water
  • 75 g caster sugar
  • 2 large oranges, zested
  • 7 gelatine leaves (or 14 g powdered gelatine)
  • 1¼ cups Woolworths sparkling ginger beer
  • 180 g blueberries
  • For the boozy stewed fruit:
  • 1 kg apricots, stoned and halved
  • 200 g dried cranberries
  • 180 g sugar
  • ½ t ground cinnamon
  • 5 T brandy
  • Boudoir biscuits, for serving
  • melted chocolate (I use dark chocolate, but you can use white or milk if you prefer), for serving
  • Woolworths vanilla bean custard, for serving

Cooking Instructions

1. To make the jelly, bring 1¼ cups water, the caster sugar and orange zest to the boil in a saucepan.

2. Place the gelatine in a bowl of water to soften. If you’re using powdered gelatine, pour over enough water to cover it and let it soak. Add to the hot water-and-sugar mixture and simmer until melted. Remove from the heat.

3. Add the remaining water and the ginger beer. Don’t stir too much or the ginger beer will foam.

4. Pour into your chosen moulds until half full. Place the jelly into the freezer for a few minutes until slightly set.

5. Place some of the blueberries on top of the jelly and pour over a little more of the jelly mixture. Set in the freezer again. Top up the moulds with more jelly mixture (if there’s room, add more blueberries), then chill to set completely, about 4 hours.

6. To demould the jellies, dip the bottoms of the moulds in boiling hot water for a few seconds.

7. To make the boozy stewed fruit, combine all the ingredients in a large pan. Bring to a gentle boil and cook for 1 minute, stirring often. Cover and reduce the heat, then simmer for a further 15–20 minutes.

8. Uncover and check the thickness of the liquid. If it is still runny, increase the heat slightly and simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes. Cool and store in airtight containers in the fridge.

9. Dip the Boudoir biscuits into the melted chocolate and serve with the jelly and custard.

Cook's note: We chefs cab be a really soppy bunch. Any memory from our lives is turned into a dish or culinary story, especially when creating new recipes. I wish I could say I’m different, but I’d be lying. I love a twist on a nostalgic dish and gladly play with flavours from my childhood all the time. This dish is one of those happy creations.

Every December my parents would ship my brothers and I to Limpopo for the festive season and, besides the scorching heat of the place, the memory that lingers the most in my head are the desserts. Green or neon red jelly with canned peaches, pudding and custard. It was the same dessert served at family gatherings in trifle form, too. So I’ve always associated those flavours with the festive season. At the end of it all everything would be washed down with a big glass of gemere (ginger beer).

Here’s my more adult twist on the classic combination of flavours. You’ll need to start the day before to allow the jelly to set.

Find more Christmas dessert recipes here.

Photograph: Jan Ras
Production: Bianca Strydom
Food assistant: Gail Damon

Lesego Semenya Recipe by: Lesego Semenya
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The late, great Lesego Semenya aka Les da Chef was famous for his braai skills, devotion to heritage recipes and ingredients, and as a television host. He was the author of "Dijo: My food, my journey", a regular columnist for the TASTE magazine and host of TASTETube videos.

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