Edit: Thanks to the responses on Facebook and Twitter, I’ve finally gotten to the bottom of this.
The first thing to note was that the instructions I followed was for a recipe using gelatin powder, and not agar powder. Since I was using agar powder, I should have left the baking tray with the cream cheese mixture to set in the fridge for a few hours first before putting on the last layer of jello!
On the topic of jello, another mistake i made was to not let it cool down completely before pouring it into the baking tray.
Also I should have sieved the cream cheese mixture to get rid of the lumps.
As for where to get gelatin powder in Singapore, I’ve been told by some that you can get it at Phoon Huat – which has a few outlets islandwide.
Thanks girls for all your comments!
I based my attempt on some recipes I found online, but here’s the exact one that I derived on my own after reading plenty of yet similar yet different recipes.
For the crust -
300g digestive biscuits
150g melted butter
For the cheesecake layer -
250g cream cheese
1 & 1/2 tablespoons agar-agar powder (couldn’t find gelatin powder anywhere so I subbed it with agar agar jelly)
1 & 1/4 cups boiling water
10 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 strawberries, halved
For the jelly layer -
170g strawberry flavoured jelly (Jello brand)
500ml boiling water
500ml cold water
And these are the steps I did (and in between unforeseen events that happened):
1) Place the digestive biscuits in a ziplock bag
2) Crush the biscuits until they look like this:
3) In the meantime, melt the butter (I use a frying pan) so that once the biscuits are crushed, you can add the melted butter to it
4) Mix the melted butter and crushed biscuits together, and place the mixture at the base of the baking tin
So that settles the crust. The tray is then placed in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes (more or less).
This is where it started getting complicated (both from the lack of experience and circumstance). So the next part is where we create the cheese filling for the jelly hearts.
5) Place 250 grams of cream cheese in a bowl, and add 10 tablespoons of sugar in it
In the meantime, I placed the agar-agar powder (once again, let me remind you that I subbed the gelatin powder with agar agar powder) in hot water and let it cool.
Back to the cream cheese and sugar mixture, I also had to add a teaspoonful of vanilla essence, which is always in stock at my house. ALWAYS. Well until today. So I had a mixture right there (and agar agar powder in boiling water at the side) – and NO VANILLA ESSENCE.
I had no choice but to rush out to get a bottle of the essence. And of course the first grocery store I went to ran out of it, and I had to walk a little further down. But eventually – I got the vanilla essence – which I added to my cream cheese and sugar mixture.
6) The next step was to pour in the agar agar water mixture to the cream cheese and sugar one. Simple enough right? NO.
BECAUSE THE AGAR AGAR MIXTURE HAD TURNED TO ACTUAL JELLY WHILE I WAS OUT ON A VANILLA ESSENCE HUNT:
At this point, my mind went blank. Seriously. Like, what just happened? Of course I didn’t have an extra packet of agar powder. So I had to rush out again and get another packet. Rushing out in the hot sun twice in a day just to hunt for ingredients will tend to take a toll on you. Ok so when I got back, and re-did step of mixing the agar agar jelly to boiling water.
7) After the mixture has cooled down a little, I poured it to the baking tin on top of the digestive biscuit crust.
8) The lumpy bits were actually from the agar agar powder. Those lumps will eventually be the downfall of this project. So I let the mixture set for a bit and went on to cut the strawberries into hearts.
9) The cut up strawberry hearts were then placed on the cream cheese and digestive biscuits layer in the baking tin.
And then I placed the baking tin back in the fridge again, while making the jello mixture – which is the final step.
10) What I did was put hot water to it, and when the crystals start to dissolve, I added cold water. And mixed and mixed.
11) I only poured the mixture into the baking tin when it was lukewarm.
No photo for this step because this is where I know that shit has hit the fan. When I poured the jello mixture into the pan, some of the lumpy parts (from the agar jelly) became very visible. So parts of the baking tray surface had patches of white. Also, the mixture seems a tad too watery. I don’t know if it was because I used too much water.
12) The contents of the baking tray is then left to chill for at least 4 hours.
Finally – this is the end product. Ugly as hell, omg I can’t believe I created this. The white patch in the middle was a result of my mum putting a cling wrap over the tray while I took a nap in the afternoon. But well, it was already destroyed even before that anyway.
So what I’d like to know, if any of you can be so kind are:
1) Was it a mistake to use agar agar powder? Can I still make this dessert without gelatin or agar agar powder?
2) Did I do any of the steps wrongly?
3) Where did I go wrong?