Fluid gel is not a new concept, nor is it one I’ve invented. It has almost become a staple technique for most chefs, however it’s hard to find a simple, foolproof recipe.
A fluid gel is basically a puree of either fruit or vegetable that is set with agar agar, a vegetarian gelling agent that comes in powder form. Agar is not great in things like jelly or pannacotta as it can set quite rubbery, however for a fluid gel it works perfectly. You can buy agar agar online easily and it is relatively cheap. This recipe will work for most fruit or vegetable purees; however you may need to adjust the amount of liquid you add at the end.
250g fruit or vegetable juice or puree
Approximately 130g fruit juice that matches or compliments your flavour
25g caster sugar
5g agar agar
First, weigh out your sugar and agar and mix together in the same bowl. Put your 250g fruit juice or puree in a small saucepan and heat. When it comes to the boil whisk in your sugar and agar mix. Keep whisking for around 3 minutes while still on the heat. You need to cook it out a bit to make sure the agar doesn’t leave a flavour.
Remove from the heat and pour into a lipped tray that has been lined with cling film. Carefully put in the fridge for an hour or until set.
When set, you should have a solid sheet of jelly. Remove from the tray, being careful not to include any cling film and put the jelly in a liquidiser or Nutribullet. Blend for around 10 seconds and you should be left with a grainy puree. A bit at a time, add your remaining 130g fruit juice and blend, until your mixture is smooth but not too runny. You probably won’t need all the 130g of juice. You are looking for the gel to be smooth in the mouth, yet solid enough to stand up. Be careful not to add to much juice at the end as it's hard to make a gel thicker again.
Finally, pass through a sieve and into a squeezy bottle or piping bag.
Fluid gels are great for garnishing dishes and add a great texture to desserts.