This comes from an old copy of Gourmet that I keep kicking around, but it can also be found on the epicurious web site. The recipe also calls for an egg carton (for proper tilting of glasses), but I found that a deep pan with tissue paper stuffed in the bottom worked just as well for this dessert.
This gelee cream is gorgeous to look at, and brings a very different taste to dessert. Not used to basil in dessert (mint? sure. basil? hmmm). But it is so very sweet and light and just perfect in the cream mixture, and the perfect foil to the perfume-y fruit gelee found below it. If you have enough time to get this pulled together before company comes for dinner, then definitely give this one a try.
Passion-Fruit Gelee with Basil Cream
1 3/4 tsp. unflavored gelatin (from a 1/4-oz envelope)
1/4 c. water
2 c. passion-fruit nectar (preferably Looza brand)
1/2 c. loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. well-chilled heavy cream
1 tsp. unflavored gelatin (from another 1/4-oz envelope)
2 tsp. water
To make gelée:
Sprinkle gelatin over water in a small saucepan and let stand 1 minute to soften. Cook over low heat, stirring, until gelatin is dissolved, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in 1 tablespoon passion-fruit nectar at a time until gelatin mixture is cool, then whisk in remaining nectar.
Transfer to a metal bowl and set bowl into a larger bowl half-filled with ice and cold water. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until gelée is consistency of raw egg white, 15 to 25 minutes.
Put egg carton in a shallow baking pan and arrange glasses in carton, then tilt glasses to a 45-degree angle. Divide gelée among glasses. Carefully transfer pan with glasses to refrigerator and chill until gelée is set, at least 1 hour.
Make cream when gelée has set:
Pulse basil, sugar, and a pinch of salt in a food processor until finely chopped, then transfer to a bowl and add cream, stirring just until sugar is dissolved.
Sprinkle gelatin over water in a small saucepan and let stand 1 minute to soften. Cook over low heat, stirring, until gelatin is dissolved, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in 1 tablespoon basil cream at a time until gelatin mixture is cool, then whisk in remaining cream. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a metal bowl, pressing hard on solids and then discarding them.
Set bowl in a larger bowl half-filled with ice and cold water and let stand, stirring occasionally, until cream is consistency of raw egg white, 15 to 25 minutes.
Holding 1 glass of gelée at a 45-degree angle, slowly fill glass with basil cream, gradually righting glass as filled. Fill remaining glasses in same manner. Chill, covered, until set, at least 1 hour.