Unexpected Results from Impulse Buying

The key words in the brochure read “tastes of strawberry”, “hint of sweetness”, “gentle fizz” – a perfect summer rosé from Spain, we thought. At a good price, too. So…duly ordered and a case arrived within a few days. Chilled and served.

Result: a bit more than a hint of sweetness. In fact, quite sweet, but still a very nice fruity flavour and drinkable as light dessert wine.

Problem: we don’t normally drink dessert wines and prefer a slightly drier wine with our meal, or to simply sip with meze. And, now we had 11 bottles to get through.

Solution: I remembered a recipe I had clipped many years ago for a prosecco jelly (American jello). However, given the fact that we love prosecco and there never seems to be any left over, let alone a whole bottle to experiment with jelly recipes, this recipe simply sat untested.


Adapting that procecco recipe for this sweetish, hint of strawberry rosé was perfect. It makes an excellent jelly/jello on its own, but…that led to more wobbly experiments with unexpected yummy results. The following are wonderful light, not-too-sweet summer desserts, particularly paired with strawberries or raspberries. Perfect for entertaining and pretty in pink.


The Gelatin Base (for both recipes)

  • 6 sheets gelatin (or 1 Tablespoon unsweetened gelatin powder)*
  • 375ml sweet, slightly fizzy rosé (1/2 a bottle)
  • 100g sugar

Soak the gelatin sheets in a little of the rosé (about 100ml) for a few minutes until they are very soft. Squeeze out the liquid and put the sheets into a pan on low heat. Once the gelatin has dissolved, stir in the rosè (including the soaking liquid) and add the sugar. Stir on low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Turn off heat.

Note: In the UK, sheets of gelatin are more common that the powdered variety found in the US. For the brand that I use, one gelatin sheet is considered the same as 1 teaspoon of powdered gelatin, making 6 sheets equivalent to 1 Tablespoon (15ml size, not the 20ml Australian Tablespoon). Both sorts require softening in liquid prior to using. When in doubt, follow the instructions on the packet.


1. Rosé and Strawberry Panna Cotta
Okay, this is a cheat panna cotta – not baked, but chilled and gelatin-based, producing a layered effect.

  • 100ml heavy/double cream
  • 3 fresh strawberries
  • 6 small mint leaves

Makes 6

Process the gelatin sheets, the sugar and the rosé according to the instructions above for the gelatin base.

Meanwhile, clean and hull 3 small strawberries and slice two lateral edges and place each one in the bottom of your ramikins (or tea cup moulds). Clean the mint leaves and place at the top of the strawberries. Carefully spoon a small amount of the rosé gelatin so that it comes just to the top of the strawberry slice. Carefully place the ramikins in the refrigerator and leave to set for about 20 to 30 minutes.


The remainder of the rosé gelatin can cool slightly in the pan. Just before you take the ramikins out of the refrigerator, stir the cream into the rosé. Spoon the mixture on top of the set gelled strawberries, cover with cling film and refrigerate until completely set – about 4 hours or overnight.

To unmould, place the ramikins (one at a time) in a container with warm/hot water, but do not let the water get onto the gel. It sometimes helps to run a knife around the edge of the panna cotta. After a few seconds (20-30), place your serving plate over the top of the ramikin, invert and tap the base. If the panna cotta does not come loose, place it back into the water for a few more seconds and try inverting again. Serve with a strawberry coulis or sliced fresh strawberries.


2. Rosé-Raspberry Mousse
This mousse is ideal for a party buffet. Easy to do a day or so in advance. Can be made as one large bowl of mousse or individual servings. I’ve also used evaporated milk in this recipe. If properly chilled, it will whip up to form fluffy peaks, and I think it is better at retaining those little air pockets when folded into the gelatin than fat-heavy cream and produces a much lighter mousse. Evaporated milk is also half the calories as heavy cream and five times less fat!

Serves 6-8

  • 150ml evaporated milk
  • 400g frozen raspberries
  • additional fresh raspberries, optional

Process the gelatin sheets, the sugar and the rosé according to the instructions above for the gelatin base. Also, put the evaporated milk into the refrigerator so that it is well chilled.

Pour the cooled rosé mixture into a large bowl and place it into the refrigerator until it just begins to gel around the edges (about 20 minutes). Meanwhile, whip the chilled evaporated milk. Remove the rosé mixture from the refrigerator and gently fold in the whipped milk, one large spoon at a time.


Add the frozen raspberries. It will begin to gel quite quickly, but keep folding the mixture until the raspberries are suspended in the mousse. Transfer the mixture to your serving bowl or spoon it into individual dishes. Cover with cling film and return to the refrigerator until completely set and the raspberries have defrosted (about 4 hours or overnight). Optionally, serve topped with fresh raspberries.


* * *

1. These recipes below are for those occasions you find yourself with an unwanted bottle of sweet, slightly fizzy rosé (or white wine, for that matter). At the time of writing this post, there are 6 bottles still left in the case and I don’t think it will be a hardship to use them.
2. I am now wondering how a sweet red wine – something slightly sparkling like a Lambrousco – would do as a jelly. Perhaps not for a light summer dessert with strawberries, but perhaps later in the autumn or winter with frozen raspberries, blackberries, black or red currants, or even cranberries….



  1. I have never thought about using my (too) sweet wine for baking! This opens so many new doors. Plus I’m not wasting wine by pouring it down the sink (that’s always a sad moment) haha Thanks for sharing!


    • It is amazing what you can do with sweet wine (other than drinking…) when you put your mind to it and go a-googling! I really hate food waste and as a consequence, we often have some fairly unusual meals. These recipes (and one to follow tomorrow) were perfect uses for this rosé.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Some inspired thrifty thinking here and you have totally motivated me to go and take a squiz at some too sweet wines and fizz I have that I wasn’t keen on drinking. (They were big bottles, not the usual smaller dessert wines.) Maybe a wintery type jelly as you suggested. I adore the look and sound of that wibble wobble Panna Cotta.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Let me know how that wintery wibble wobble turns out. (I am now going to think of Panna Cotta by this name.) Don’t worry if the fizz goes out when you open the bottles, just cork it and store in a cool place until you need it again. Fizz is not important in these recipes. In fact, when warmed up with the gelatin and the sugar, the fizz goes away. If the wine is very sweet, cut back a little on the sugar…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Subtle little Jelly sweets, perfect for summer and to use up that sweet wine. All reminding me of the joys of summer, berries and trifles. I think the panna cotta is a winner. Might have to play some gelatine games next summer.


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