Jellied Orange Wedges

Orenji Kan

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Makes 24 wedges to serve

    8–12

Appears in

An American Taste of Japan

An American Taste of Japan

By Elizabeth Andoh

Published 1985

  • About

The Japanese have long known of the natural gelling properties of certain sea vegetables and have been making marvelous aspics and gelatins for centuries. Here a fruit that’s relatively new to Japan, the navel orange, makes a lovely self-contained presentation. The final cut wedges of gelatin visually defy the laws of gravity!

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks kanten (Japanese gelatin; agar)
  • 6 large, thick-skinned, unblemished navel oranges
  • 1–2 cups freshly squeezed OR pure pasteurized orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons sugar

Method

Tear the dry gelatin sticks into several pieces and soak in a bowl of cold water to cover for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the oranges in half through the stems. Carefully scoop out the insides. (You can start with a grapefruit knife or spoon, but the job is best done with fingers, peeling and tugging gently.) Do your scooping over a bowl to catch any juice. You should have completely smooth, white-lined cups of orange peel when you’ve finished.

Wrap the orange pulp in cheesecloth or muslin and squeeze to extract the juice. Add enough additional orange juice to make a total of 4 cups.

Squeeze the softened gelatin as you remove it from the water. The gelatin will now be very spongy and will shred easily. Shred the softened gelatin into an enamel-lined or glass saucepan with 2 cups of the orange juice. To save every bit of kanten gelatin, strain the soaking water through a fine-meshed sieve and add any salvaged bits to the saucepan. Add the sugar and cook the mixture for 5 minutes over low heat. Stir frequently until the gelatin melts. Simmer an additional 3– 4 minutes before adding the remaining 2 cups of orange juice. Stir to mix evenly.

Arrange the orange shells on a large tray or fit them in a roasting pan so they don’t rock back and forth. Fill the shells nearly to the top with the orange juice mixture. Lance any large bubbles with a toothpick; gently remove any foam from the surface with a bit of paper toweling. Let the gelatin cool at room temperature until it begins to set (about 30 minutes). Refrigerate, covered, for at least 2 hours and up to 24.

Before serving, cut each orange shell in half. Trim the shells so that the surface of the gelatin is flush with the edges of the orange skin. Serve two or three wedges per person. To eat, peel back the skin.