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Gelatina di Limone con Croccante ai Pinoli - Sicilian lemon jelly with caramelised Pine Nuts

CarmelitaThis is one of the recipes that has been provided by Carmelita Caruana from Italy. Carmelita is involved in running cooking holidays in Italy and it is well worth visiting her website -


For the lemon jelly:
250g sugar
125 ml water
grated peel of 1 lemon
325 ml of fresh lemon juice
8 g leaf gelatine

For the caramelised nuts:
100g sugar
100 g pine nuts
1 lemon cut in half horizontally

  • Grate the peel from one lemon, then squeeze out the juice form this grated lemon and as many other lemons as you need to obtain a total of 325 mls of juice. Soak the leaf gelatine in a small amount of cold water to soften it.
  • Dissolve the sugar in the water in a jug as well as you can. The lemon juice slows down the rate at which the sugar dissolves so it is best to add it last. Place the sugar/water mixture in a saucepan water over low heat and stir till the sugar is completely dissolved. Now add the lemon juice to the pan and again stir to blend.
  • Squeeze out the leaf gelatine which should now be soft and very pliable and add it to the pan. It should dissolve instantly as you stir it in, and as soon as it has done so take the pan off the heat as the mixture must not boil.
  • Fill one large or several small individual jelly moulds , ideally non stick or else glass which you lightly brush with sweet almond oil or flavourless corn oil, to help you un-mould the jelly later. Place in the fridge to set for several hours and un-mould just before serving.
  • To make the Croccante, first prepare an oiled marble slab or large platter on which to spread the caramelised nuts, and make sure you have your cut lemon half handy.
  • Place the sugar and pine nuts in a heavy bottomed pan over low heat. Let the sugar melt and bubble, and at first do not stir but shake the pan gently to help even out the heat. The stir just enough to mix the nuts evenly with the melted sugar that is now starting to colour
  • When the melted sugar and nuts take are a deep gold, and there is a an distinct aroma of caramelised nuts, carefully pour the contents of the pan onto your prepared oiled flat surface, and spread out into a fairly thin layer.
  • Very quickly even out the surface by rubbing with the lemon half - be careful the mixture is very hot and will sizzle when the cold lemon hits the hot surface. Leave to cool and harden, the lift off large pieces and crack them into jagged bits with which you will garnish the lemon jelly just before serving.


  • Humidity can stop your Croccante from hardening nicely, so on a humid day, try to make it only at the last minute. Even on dry days, keep it cool without refrigerating it, as it tends to soften in the fridge.
  • To avoid un-moulding, place it in pretty stemmed glasses or glass ice cream dishes or bowls to set and serve straight from the fridge.

Serves 6

Carmelita Caruana
Cook Italy