If you've ever dreamed of eating your coffee for breakfast, this recipe for coffee jelly is for you, and yes, coffee jelly is exactly what you think it is. The idea of eating blocks of gelatin for breakfast might take a bit of getting used to, but according to "Coffee jelly is a very popular dessert in Japan—for breakfast, lunch or dinner," explains Adam Liaw. This recipe from his cookbook Adam's Big Pot, which will be available on August 1, is an easy way to start your morning with a bite of caffeine. "You can use decaf if you're especially sensitive," notes Liaw, who also won the second season of Masterchef Australia, but he adds, "Sometimes if I want to make a little fancier I'll use a specialty cold drip coffee."

Liaw's recipe for coffee jelly has only five ingredients, one of which is water. But there's still a bit of technique required to make sure you get the right final texture. "The key to a smooth jelly is making sure your liquid is smooth first, and then using a good quality gelatine," explains Liaw." Lower quality gelatines can have impurities that make your jelly cloudy. If you want a crystal-clear smooth gelatine then high quality gelatine sheets are your best bet." 

If you're looking to make a vegan version of this dish, Liaw recommends you replace the gelatine with agar-agar, "a natural vegetarian alternative to gelatine made from seaweed that's common in Asian cooking." Added bonus? "It gives crystal clear results every time."

Coffee Jelly

  • Yields: 6 to 8 servings
  • Cook Time: 4 hours 5 minutes
  • Hands-On Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours 20 minutes

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Add about a cup of the water to the powdered gelatin in a small bowl and allow it to stand for about 10 minutes. Bring the remaining water—about three cups—to a low simmer then add the coffee and sugar, whisking to dissolve the sugar.

  2. Add the gelatin mix to the coffee liquid and whisk well to ensure all the gelatin crystals are dissolved. (You may need to rinse the gelatin bowl with the hot coffee liquid a few times to remove any crystals still clinging to the bowl.)

  3. Pour the coffee liquid into a shallow cake tin to a depth of about 2 centimeters. Refrigerate for 4 hours, or until the jelly is well set.

  4. To serve, cut the jelly into 2 centimeter cubes and serve with a few spoonfuls of thickened cream.