Refreshing, Wine-laced Fruit For Dessert


Café Laufer Fruit in White Wine Jell | Photo courtesy chef Cyrus Goo

It takes a lot of willpower to pass the delectable display of mouthwatering cakes and pastries at Café Laufer in Kaimuki without ordering at least one.

This charming café and bakery has been delighting customers for the past 18 years with elegant yet casual décor, and a varied selection of pastries, coffees, homemade soups, salads and daily specials.

Owner/chef Cyrus Goo and his staff make all of the menu items including breads every day on premises.

Chef Cyrus has an impressive resume, having worked at The Kahala Hilton, Hawaiian Regent, Turtle Bay Resort, Pacific Beach Hotel and United Airlines Flight Kitchen, to name a few.

I love this wonderful and refreshing dessert, which is both satisfying and healthy, and Chef Cyrus has been kind enough to let me share his recipe with Mid-Week readers.

The dessert is served in the restaurant as a fruit pie with a thin sponge cake bottom, but Cyrus says it can be prepared in a big, clear glass bowl, individual parfait glasses, champagne flutes or disposable cups for picnics.

Gelatin is a cooked powdered form of collagen and a protein source. Gelatin comes in the form of sheets, powders or granules. The instant gelatin can be added to foods just as they are. Gelatin is used to stabilize, thicken or add texture to yogurt, cream cheese or margarine, and to add substance without calories to reduced-fat foods. It also is found in gelatin desserts, marshmallows and candy. It is said to support skin, nail and hair growth, and to ease joint pain.


* Mixture of fruits of your choice to fill 10-inch round pan (do not use fresh pineapple, kiwi or papaya, as they contain enzymes that interfere with the gelatin setting properly)

* 2 cups sugar

* 7 1/4-ounce packages unflavored gelatin

* 4 cups white wine (Cyrus uses inexpensive white wine)

Choose any fruits you like, such as strawberries, grapes, peaches, pears and berries. You also may use canned peaches and pears, drained well. If using fresh berries, make sure you wash well to get the “hair” off the berries, and dry on paper towel.

Arrange fruit in a 10-inch round pan until about 90 percent full.

Mix sugar and gelatin well until no lumps are in gelatin. Pour white wine into saucepan and add sugar gelatin mixture. Heat until gelatin has melted (this should be just before the boiling point). Pour mixture into pan with fruit. If desired, place thin slices of sponge or angel food cake on top. Chill in refrigerator overnight.

To unmold, dip in hot water, turn onto large serving plate and cut into slices.

Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in Kapiolani Community College’s culinary arts program. Email