Updated: Sep 26, 2021
It doesn't need to be a baking hot summer's day to enjoy a kanten dessert like my berry fruit kanten cups. If you haven't come across kanten before, it is a gelling agent made from seaweed. It isn't identical to agar agar (which is also made from seaweed, jut a different variety which the Japanese call "tengusa") but it is a close cousin. Whereas agar agar tends to dissolve in the mouth, kanten has a little more body and texture on the tongue. It is an ideal gelatine replacement as it doesn't contain animal products and has almost no calorific value - best of all, it is claimed to be the best source of natural dietary fibre out there. It can be almost as wobbly as jelly and I think it has a lighter consistency making it ideal for little summer treats like these.
As I went strawberry and raspberry picking with some friends over the weekend, I came back with a couple of large baskets of fruits. As you know, freshly picked strawberries and raspberries are at their best for a few days only, so I had to get started making things. Some just went into a large fruit salad and some went into jam for the winter. I also made these berry fruit kanten cups. The only pieces of equipment you need to make these is a cupcake baking tray and some silicone cup cake molds (these are basically like paper molds but reusable). Although the silicone cups will hold the kanten unsupported, putting them in a cupcake baking tray ensures that they don't distort. You could probably make these with paper cupcake molds as well although I haven't tried doing that myself. The recipe is enough for making 10 cups. Because the amounts of kanten are really small, it doesn't make sense to make less than that. But you don't need to let any leftovers go to waste, you can freeze the kanten liquid and it'll be perfectly usable again once thawed. If you do choose to make less than 10 kanten cups, you can reduce the number of strawberries and raspberries accordingly.
Kanten jelly can be made in the same way as jelly made from gelatine. Pop some water in a saucepan, add the kanten, bring to a simmer and them remove from the heat and pour into molds. I had pre-filled my silicone molds with some cut strawberries and a whole raspberry. I placed two long cooking chopsticks across the molds to stop the fruit all floating to the top then poured in the kanten. Then it was just a matter of waiting for a few minute for the kanten solution to cool before popping in the fridge for 30 minutes. In the meantime, I used some more of the strawberries to make a strawberry sauce / jus. This makes for a nice decorative presentation and also gives the kanten cup a little more sweetness. The final touch was a little sprig of mint from the garden. So there you have it, pretty little guilt free cups of berry fruit that are very kind to your tummy - I ask you - what could be better?
If you like the sound of this, you can find the Youtube tutorial by clicking - Berry Fruit Kanten cups or scroll to the bottom of the page. The written recipe is just below.
Happy cooking! Kurumi XXXX.
Berry fruit Kanten cups with strawberry coulis
(makes 10 cups)
4g / 0.15 oz kanten powder
500ml / 16 fl oz water
4.5 - 5 tbsp white sugar (depending on how sweet you want your kanten cups)
rinse your berry fruits
remove the stalks from the strawberries, then cut each strawberry longways into quarters
place your silicone cup cake molds in your cupcake tray
place the strawberry quarters around the edge of your silicone cups and place a raspberry upside down in the middle of each cup, then set aside
using a small saucepan, combine the water, kanten powder and 2.5 - 3.0 tbps of the sugar. stir over a medium heat until the solution is about to boil, then turn off and leave for 1 - 2 minutes
return to your cupcake molds. place a long cooking chopstick or skewer over the top of the fruit - this may sound strange but it will stop the fruit popping up and floating
next, take the saucepan of kanten liquid and carefully fill the cupcake mould with the liquid
now to make your strawberry sauce / jus:
place the remaining strawberry quarters in a small saucepan. add the remaining 2 tbsps of white sugar. stir over a medium heat for 5 - 7 minutes until the sugar is dissolved and the strawberries have partly broken down
remove the saucepan from the heat and use a blender to blend the mix into a smooth sauce. set aside to cool
take your fruit cups out of the fridge. gently peel back the silicone and remove the kanten cups to a plate
once your strawberry sauce has cooled and you are ready to serve, use the sauce to decorate your serving plates. place a kanten cupcake on each plate. decorate with sprigs of mint