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Sheet Gelatin

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hi!

I used to make panna cotta and some other desserts using colla di pesce, a kind of gelatin sheet. I've tried to find it here, but I can't. Do you know where I can find gelatin sheets in Philadelphia? And do you know if it's the same thing you can buy in Italy?

Thank you! :D

Cooking Italian
post #2 of 11

Fish Glue!

You can substitute american gelatin with perfect results. I'm sure if you look on internet you'll find equivalents. It's the same thing, ground up, so no problem. Much easier to use, too.
I have a funny story about "colla di pesce" which i can't resist telling.
I wanted to make this fancy tart which is amazing, a brisee crust, a bavarian cream filling and strawberries on top spooned with melted redcurrant jam.
I had just come to italy, 30 years ago. I go to the local store and ask for GELATINA, thinking that means gelatin. It does, but it means the kind of savory soup gelatin that you would use for a meat dish, like to encase some cold meat salad or something. When i brought it home i realized it was no good. So i looked it up in the dictionary, gelatin is "colla di pesce" - which means, literally, fish glue.
I go back and ask for colla di pesce and the guy behind the counter says, oh, no, we don;t have that, you have to go to the hardware store.
Now to realize the situation at the time, salt and tobacco were both state monopolies, and they were both sold only in "tobacco stores" - actually called "sale e tabacchi" - salt and tobacco stores. You couldn;t buy salt even in a supermarket, even if you could FIND a supermarket in the 70s in rome! So i was already used to bizarre places to find familiar things, get salt in the tobacco store was no more bizarre than to get gelatin at the hardware store.
Fortunately the hardware guy knew more about cooking than the food store guy, and told me that was a cooking thing but i would definitely not find it in the neighborhood. Only very special downtown stores would have it. (People, contrary to popular belief, don't do home baking here, at least nothing more than some dry cake or a pudding).
But anyway, from then on i brought a box of gelatin from the states when i would go, and i use it for panna cotta, and it's fine. Just find the dosage equivalents. One sheet is much less than an envelope. But it;s the same thing. (Boiled bones and gristle).
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #3 of 11
I really don't think that sheet gelatin are the same.

I mean, they are the same thing, but sheet gelatin is a much purer gelatin. Powder gelatin is not as pure and has an off flavor to me.

Sheet gelatin is a little more expensive, but IMO worth the price.

As far as where to get it in Philly, I don't know. If you can't find it in the stores and gourmet markets, perhaps you can find an online source?

EDIT: Did a quick search online, gelatin sheets (leaf gelatin) 40 or King Arthur Flour
post #4 of 11

Philly

DiBruno Brothers, if they don't carry it, they can help you find it!

They have a website and two stores.
bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
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bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
Reply
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thank you all!

By the way, siduri... your GELATINA story reminds me when just after arriving in the US I used baking soda instead of baking powder... my cake tasted so salty, ewwwww! :cry:
post #6 of 11

Isinglass

Hi there, I know in Italy they tend to use isinglass, which is a gelatinous substance derived from the bladders of fish. Boxed American gelatin is usually from pigs' (and sometimes, horses') hooves, and sheet gelatin is a mix from the vegetable/animal kingdom and far less smelly!! That makes is more palatable for baking and pastry. Carrageenan and agar agar and isinglass are used in tropical climes for thickening anything from puddings to a drink called Irish Moss, a virility booster. You can order isinglass from a few sources. I haven't done so for awhile, but try online. I'm curious if this is what you're looking for...good luck!!
post #7 of 11

Isinglass

Hi there, I know in Italy they tend to use isinglass, which is a gelatinous substance derived from the bladders of fish. Boxed American gelatin is usually from pigs' (and sometimes, horses') hooves, and sheet gelatin is a mix from the vegetable/animal kingdom and far less smelly!! That makes is more palatable for baking and pastry. Carrageenan and agar agar and isinglass are used in tropical climes for thickening anything from puddings to a drink called Irish Moss, a virility booster. You can order isinglass from a few sources. I haven't done so for awhile, but try online. I'm curious if this is what you're looking for...good luck!!
post #8 of 11
If you can't get sheet gelatin, you can use powdered, but not on a 1-to-1 substitution. One packet of powder (1/4 ounce/7 grams, about 2 1/4 teaspoons) equals 3 to 5 sheets. Generally, one packet of powder will gel 2 cups liquid; 4 sheets will also gel 2 cups liquid, although that might be a little stiffer.

Substituting powder for sheet means you don't have to soften it in a lot of water, but you do have to "bloom" it in cold liquid before you melt it in hot liquid.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #9 of 11
thanks someday, i never noticed the difference in flavor, myself, since i use it in things that have a flavor already, and i find powdered gelatin much more convenient (e.g. mixing it in with the eggs and sugar in a bavarian cream, no squeezing out of slimy sheets, etc) but thought it was more or less the same stuff. But anyway, the quantities are important and you need so much less of powdered that it shouldn't make a big differnece, i'd think.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #10 of 11

Great Gelatin

I found great Italian gelatin on the web at vivande.com a retailer in san francisco. I tried it and it is a wonderful product.
post #11 of 11
you really can't tell the difference.....but if you must use sheet gelatin....
"albert uster" or "swiss chalet"....to mail order companies.....they will have
different kinds....I use gold...
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