Irish moss has quickly become one of my favorite ingredients to experiment with. It makes incredibly light melt-in-your-mouth desserts but is also a wonderful thickener/binder in all sorts of recipes, such as dressings, sauces and even burgers!
Join me and Don's sister Sandy as I walk her through the technique I use when working with Irish moss.
Here's what I do in a nutshell along with a few helpful tips...
First I rinse the moss very well under running cold water then place it in a container of cold water and massage it briefly to help remove more grits and unwanted particles. I repeat this step 3 or 4 times until the water stays clear. I then fill the container with fresh cold water and leave it covered in the fridge. After 24 hours, the Irish moss is ready to be used. (Alternatively, you could leave it at room temp for 3 1/2 hours or so.)
A couple of things I'd like to stress... It is key that the water is cold to avoid the moss losing some of its precious gelling properties. The moss will keep for about a week to 10 days in the fridge in the same soak water (that too apparently helps maintain the gelatin.)
A few other tips that I've learned while handling Irish moss...
- It really does help to roughly chop the measured amount of moss before throwing it in the blender.
- Make sure to blend the moss with some kind of liquid first until it's completely dissolved before adding other ingredients. I personally prefer to make a gel or a paste by blending Irish moss with water; that way it's ready to be used in any recipe.
- You'll probably have to stop the blender a couple of times in order to scrape the bits of moss that have shot up to the sides and in the rubber top.
- It takes quite a bit of blending before the Irish moss 'explodes' into a gelatin; a process that is activated by the heat generated during blending.
- Once your filling mixture is ready I strongly recommend taking the extra time to do a consistency test. (Having to scrape your pie filling out of the crust because it didn't set properly is a real pain in the butt!) Simply put a small amount of filling in a glass or small bowl and let it sit in the fridge (or freezer) for half an hour or so. Then run a knife through it and see if it comes clean. If it's not firm enough, throw the tested portion back in the blender container along with the rest of the filling and add a couple of tablespoons of melted coconut oil. That should do the trick. If you're happy with the consistency, simply blend the tested portion back with the rest of the mixture briefly and proceed with the assembly.
- I once read somewhere that Irish moss based desserts shouldn't be frozen as it alters the consistency. Having said that, placing it in the freezer for half an hour or so for the purposes of testing or kick starting the firming process won't hurt.
Hope this helps with your own Irish moss experiments!
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