Photograph by Olivia Bee Food Styling by Maggie Ruggiero Prop Styling by Theo Vamvounakis

Gin-and-Tonic Prickly-Pear Jelly Mold

Desserts from Issue 5 – Spring / Summer 2014 – Caravan

An homage to iconic Palm Springs institutions like Melvyn’s, that hearken back to an era when the low desert was a playground for the Rat Pack and Hollywood’s glamorous elite, and remain, much to our delight, blissfully suspended in time. Our G & T jelly mold gives an old-school classic a desert-driven spin—all hail the glistening mound of cactus-pear.

serves 6 to 8

  • 1 prickly-pear (cactus-pear)
  • ½ cup plus 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 3 (¼ oz) packets unflavored gelatin
  • 1 ¼ cups water, divided
  • 1 ⅔ cups (12 oz) tonic water
  • 1 cup gin
  • cup , plus 2 Tbsp sugar

  • 1

    Holding prickly-pear with a paper towel (sometimes they have little sticklers) slice off both ends and then score from end to end. Peel off the thick skin revealing the fuchsia egg-shaped fruit. Roughly chop the fruit and purée in a blender along with lime juice then strain into a medium bowl discarding seeds.

  • 2

    Sprinkle the gelatin over ¾ cup water in a small bowl to let soften.

  • 3

    Bring tonic, gin, and sugar to a simmer then cook, simmering, 5 minutes. (This will diminish the alcohol content.) Remove from heat and stir in gelatin until completely dissolved. Cool slightly, then stir in prickly-pear mixture and remaining ½ cup water. Pour into a 4- to 5-cup mold and chill until firmly set, at least 6 hours or overnight. Dip mold very briefly in warm water to loosen sides then unmold onto a serving plate.