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What Is a Jelly Slice?

By Angie Bates
Updated May 16, 2024
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A jelly slice is an Australian dessert consisting of three layers: a crust, a filling and a topping. The crust is made out of crushed tea biscuits, the filling contains gelatin as well as dairy products, and the topping is made from flavored jelly crystals. Although jelly slices are popular desserts in Australia, they typically are not found in other parts of the world.

Created in the same manner as a graham cracker crust, the jelly slice crust, sometimes called the base, consists of cookie crumbs and butter. Cookies are crushed or ground in a food processor and then combined with melted butter. The mixture is then pressed into the bottom of a rectangular tin or baking dish. After the bottom is thoroughly covered, the dish is placed in the refrigerator to chill.

While the base is chilling, the filling is made. The filling contains gelatin, lemon juice, sweetened condensed milk and sometimes cream cheese and cream. To make the filling, the gelatin is dissolved in boiling water. If cream cheese is not used, the remaining ingredients are mixed into the dissolved gelatin. When cream cheese is used, however, the cheese is beaten, and the other ingredients are mixed into the cheese, with the dissolved gelatin added last.

After the filling is prepared, it is poured onto the base. The filling should be evenly spread over the entire crust before the pan is returned to the refrigerator. The crust and filling combination should be allowed to chill until the filling is set. Usually, this process takes about four hours.

The topping is prepared after the filling has set. Jelly crystals — which is what Australians call the flavored gelatin that is familiar to consumers in many countries and is especially popular with children — usually are combined with water as per the packaging instructions, but sometimes the water required is halved. Raspberry-flavored or lemon-flavored jelly crystals are especially popular in this dish, although any flavor can be used. After the jelly crystals are combined, the resulting liquid is poured over the filling. The jelly slice is then returned to the refrigerator to chill. At this point, it is exceptionally easy to spill the topping layer, so the cook should always take care when moving the dish.

When the final jelly layer is set, the dessert can be removed from the refrigerator and sliced into squares. A jelly slice can be served with cream or fresh or cooked fruits, such as strawberry or fig. Creating individual servings of a jelly slice is also possible by placing portions of each layer in small cake tins or serving glasses.

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