Easy Tanabata Jelly Recipe: Perfect for a Sweet Treat

Creating Tanabata Jelly is a fun and creative process that results in a stunning, shimmering dessert perfect for any special occasion. This jelly, inspired by the Japanese festival of Tanabata, is a treat for the taste buds and a feast for the eyes. The vibrant colors and sparkling gold dust layers make it look like a piece of art. Plus, the zesty lemon syrup adds a refreshing twist that complements the sweet jelly perfectly. Let's break down the steps to make this beautiful dessert.

Firstly, you'll need to gather all your ingredients. The main components are granulated sugar, agar powder, and water. These are the building blocks of your jelly. Agar is a gelatinous substance from seaweed, often used in Asian desserts. It's a great alternative to gelatin because it sets more firmly and is suitable for vegetarians. For this recipe, you'll also need some food coloring to create the colorful layers and some edible gold dust for that magical sparkle. 

Once you have all your ingredients ready, you can start making the jelly. This involves mixing the sugar and agar with water, heating it to dissolve everything, and then adding the food coloring. The process is quite simple but requires attention to detail to achieve the perfect consistency and color. Heating the mixture twice ensures that the agar and sugar are fully dissolved, which is crucial for a smooth jelly. Adding the food coloring with toothpicks allows for precise control over the amount and blending of colors, creating a beautiful marbled effect.

After preparing the jelly, the next step is to let it set. This involves pouring the mixture into a tray and allowing it to cool at room temperature. If your room is too warm, you might need to use the refrigerator briefly, but be careful not to let the jelly cool below 20°C, as it may affect the texture. While the jelly sets, you can prepare the lemon syrup by simply mixing starch syrup and lemon juice. This syrup adds a tangy flavor that balances the sweetness of the jelly.

Finally, once the jelly is set, you can assemble the layers. This involves alternating the colored jelly with clear jelly, which creates a stunning layered effect. Chilling the jelly thoroughly in the refrigerator ensures that it is firm and ready to be served. When it's time to serve, gently remove the jelly from the container and drizzle with the lemon syrup. The result is a dazzling, delicious dessert that will impress your guests and delight your taste buds.


For the Jelly:

- Granulated sugar: 60g

- Agar powder: 10g

- Water: 360ml

- Sparkling Stardust (fine gold): as needed

- Wilton 8-color set (food coloring): as needed

For the Lemon Syrup:

- Starch syrup: 20g

- Lemon juice: 2g


Making the Jelly:

1. Mix Ingredients:

   - Combine the granulated sugar and agar powder in a bowl.

   - Sprinkle this mixture into a heat-resistant bowl filled with room temperature water (360ml).

   - Stir well to mix everything together.

2. Heat and Dissolve:

   - Heat the mixture in the microwave until it starts to boil. Stir well.

   - Heat it again until it boils once more.

3. Color and Set:

   - Pour half of the jelly mixture into a tray.

   - Using toothpicks dipped in blue and purple food coloring, gradually add color to the jelly. (You can use more blue if you like).

   - Mix gently to dissolve the colors without blending them too much.

   - Sprinkle some fine gold dust (sparkling stardust) over the jelly.

   - Leave the jelly at room temperature to set. If it's too warm, place the tray in the refrigerator for a few minutes, but make sure the jelly doesn’t cool below 20°C.

4. Prepare Clear Jelly:

   - Keep the remaining half of the clear jelly mixture aside.

   - If it has started to solidify, heat it in the microwave until it becomes runny again.

5. Layering:

   - When the clear jelly is around 50°C, pour about 1 cm into a container that has been moistened with water.

   - Alternate layers of colored jelly and clear jelly until you’ve used up all the mixtures.

   - Finally, pour the remaining clear jelly over the top.

6. Chill:

   - Chill the jelly thoroughly in the refrigerator until it is completely set.

7. Remove and Serve:

   - Tilt the container to create a gap between the jelly and the container, then gently remove the jelly onto a plate.

   - Enjoy the shimmering and beautiful Tanabata Jelly!

Making the Lemon Syrup:

1. Mix:

   - Combine the starch syrup and lemon juice in a small bowl.

   - Stir well to mix.

2. Serve:

   - Drizzle the lemon syrup over the jelly or serve it on the side.

And there you have it! Your Tanabata Jelly is ready to impress. Enjoy this delightful and sparkling treat!