An easy way to make real "Jell-O" is to buy some high-quality fruit juice, such as imported pear, peach, passion fruit, or cassis, available at specialty and gourmet markets, or guava nectar from Goya, with its tropical flavor and lovely coral color. Or, juice fresh fruits with an electric juicer and sweeten to taste.
For a thicker, less limpid gelatin, puree the fruit in a food processor, strain out any seeds, and use the puree instead of juice. Frozen juice concentrates, especially purple grape juice, make great "Jell-O." I reconstitute them in a proportion of 1 part concentrate to 2 parts water.
Certain raw fruits have an enzyme that will prevent gelatin from setting. Pineapple, mango, kiwi, and ginger must all be cooked for 5 minutes to destroy the enzyme before using. Fructose is available at health food stores.
2. In a medium saucepan, bring the remaining 1-1/2 cups fruit juice to a boil. Stir into the gelatin mixture until dissolved. Add the lemon juice and sweetener to taste, if desired. Pour into individual bowls or into one bowl. Let cool, then refrigerate for several hours, until set. You can prepare the "Jell-O" up to 5 days ahead.
Andrea Reusing is the creator of the restaurant Lantern in Chapel Hill, N.C., and author of the book Cooking in the Moment: A Year of Seasonal Recipes. In this installment of The Key 3, she shares with Lynne Rossetto Kasper the techniques behind three of her favorite recipes: Turnip Soup, Overnight Braised Short Ribs and Tomato Salad.