I am making this celery and citrus dessert now using the bright green celery stalks that have managed to survive in Petraia’s vegetable garden this winter and the wonderful blood oranges that are coming up from Sicily right now. The citrus gelatin is nice made with a mix of different coloured citrus fruit such as blood oranges, yellow and pink grapefruit segments and naval oranges.
—Susan McKenna Grant
Celery and Prosecco Pops
3 inch parsley stems (optional for garnish)
bright green celery stalks
freshly squeezed lemon juice or to taste
1 1/2 cups
various citrus fruit segments (see intro)
If making the parsley garnish preheat the oven to 60 degrees C 120 (F). Make a simple syrup with the sugar and water. When the syrup is ready add the parsley stems and bring to a boil. Simmer for 3 minutes. Cover the pan with a plate and let the stems cool in the syrup for one hour. Remove the stems to a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for two hours or until the stems are dry.
Meanwhile, remove the first inch or two from the base of each celery stalk (where the colour is paler) and reserve for another use. Cut the remaining celery into 1/2 inch pieces and add to the syrup along with the prosecco. Bring the syrup back to the boil then simmer gently for 8-10 minutes.
Transfer to a blender and add celery or lovage leaves. Whiz. Push through a fine sieve and discard the solids. Add lemon juice to taste to the syrup and pour into popsicle molds, ice cube trays or silpat molds of your choice. Freeze.
Layer the citrus segments into a cling film lined loaf tin or silpat mold. Soften the gelatin in cold water.
Bring the sugar and juice to the boil and remove from the heat. Stir in the softened gelatin. Pour over fruit and refridgerate until set.
To Serve: Slice the gelatin with a sharp knife and top with a celery pop. Garnish with the candied parsley stem if using.