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These bright, colorful kanten (agar) desserts are the perfect way to indulge your sweet tooth while staying cool in the hot weather. As an added bonus, fiber-packed kanten has zero calories.

 

Prep: 10 mins.; cook: 20 mins. to fully gel + 30 mins. to chill

Serves 4

 

Equipment:

• 600-milliliter storage container (15-by-10-by-3.5-centimeters) or

• 8 silicone, ruffle-edged cupcake liners, each holding about 50 milliliters of liquid

 

For the kanten:

• 2 level teaspoons (4 grams) kanten powder

• 100 milliliters water

• 2 200-milliliter juice packages

 

1. Place the kanten powder in a nonreactive (stainless steel or enamel-coated) saucepan with the water and stir. Cook the mixture, stirring, over low heat for about 30 seconds or until the kanten has dissolved.

2. Add the juice to the saucepan and, stirring constantly, wait until the mixture begins to simmer. Watch carefully: The bubbling liquid will quickly rise, and you don’t want it to overflow — it’s a real mess to clean up!

3. Adjust the heat to barely maintain a simmer and cook for two minutes, stirring constantly. Cooking at this stage is essential to ensure proper gelling later. The mixture can become quite foamy as it cooks.

4. Remove the kanten-fruit juice mixture from the heat and carefully ladle it into the container or cupcake molds (fill each about ⅘ full). Try not to create bubbles as you pour. If bubbles do appear, remove by dragging them up the sides of the container or poke with a toothpick.

5. Let the kanten mixture cool at room temperature until it begins to set, about 20 minutes. Once gelled, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.

6. When ready to serve, unmold. If you used silicone cupcake liners, invert them and carefully peel off the liner. If you used a storage container, trace around the inner edges with a butter knife to introduce a bit of air, making for easier release. Place a plate (or small cutting board) on top of the container and invert. Tap the bottom to release the loaf of kanten. Slice in half lengthwise, then across three times to make eight blocks (or slice five times to make 12 narrower blocks) of kanten.

7. Serve two (or three narrower) blocks as a single portion. Most kanten will keep in the fridge for two to three days. If you want to prepare them in advance, go for the cupcake-sized individual portions, as opposed to one big block.

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