instant clear jel


How can instant Clear Jel be substituted as a thickener in fruit pies; i.e. if the recipe calls for 2 T flour, how much Clear Jel should be used?

badge posted by: elsa on August 09, 2011 at 7:23 pm in Baking, desserts and sweets
tags: fruit pies
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reply by: swirth on August 09, 2011 at 8:33 pm

In general, 2 Tbsp. flour or tapioca equals 1 Tbsp. Instant ClearJel.

KAF has some great pie recipes under Baking Education...Pies for all Seasons, I think, is the name and they use Instant ClearJel in those recipes. You might like to look at those recipes for some tips.

reply by: swirth on August 09, 2011 at 9:02 pm

Here's a link to the KAF pie recipes and they use different amts. than what I gave you, but what I gave above is the comparison from an old chart years ago put out by the Blue Chip Group when they sold three kinds of ClearJel. They had a three column comparison chart with all the uses and qtys. but took down the chart when they stopped selling the product.

So, you may have to experiment some to find what works best but the KAF recipes give good amts. for several pie types.

reply by: elsa on August 09, 2011 at 10:41 pm

Thanks, swirth. You are always helpful. The rhubarb continues to overflow, so I'm going to make pie and will try the instant clear jel. Went to Prepared Pantry today and thought about you!

reply by: carolinorygun on August 09, 2011 at 11:33 pm

If you have the KAF "Baker's Companion" they have a chart of thickeners on page 422. The amount of ClearJel you use will vary depending upon the juiciness of the fruit. For example, rhubarb will need more than apple.

So for rhubarb they recommend 1 1/2 T. Clearjel per 1 T. flour, or 3 T. Clearjel for your recipe.

Of course it also depends on how juicy you like your pies and on the character of the rhubarb.


reply by: KitchenBarbarian aka Zen on August 11, 2011 at 1:10 pm
KitchenBarbarian aka Zen

With Rhubarb pie tapioca seems to make a better thickener than flour.

You could also macerate the rhubarb with the sugar before cooking, drain off the liquid, reduce that on the stove top or in the microwave and then add it back into the pie. This works really well with fruit pies. I actually pre-cook apples a little bit, this causes a structural change so they don't break down into mush later as they bake, but that might not be true for rhubarb.

I must admit it's been probably 35 years since I made a rhubarb pie. But I do remember using tapioca rather than flour or cornstarch.

EDIT: In the course of looking for something else, I came across this in "Dishes & Beverages of the Old South" published in 1913.

Rhubarb Pie: To a generous quart of rhubarb, peeled and cut up, put three cups sugar, the pulp scooped from three sweet oranges, thin bits of the yellow peel, two blades of mace broken small, and a scant half-cup of cold water. Cover the pan and set for thirty minutes in a hot oven—uncover then and cook for five minutes longer. The result is a sweet excellent for many uses—as a sauce, as a substitute for marmalade, as the foundation of pies, tarts, shortcakes, even as a filling for layer cake.

Make pies from it with two crusts, or with lattice crusts as usual. Make it into tarts, into turnovers or put between hot buttered layers for a hurry-up shortcake. But if you wish to know how excellent such rhubarb can be, make it thus into meringue pies or tarts. Bake the crusts after pricking them well, cover thinly with either good meringue or the frosting directed for cheesecakes, let it harden, then at the minute of serving cover with a thin layer of the prepared rhubarb—the meringue or frosting will stay crisp until eaten if you work quickly enough. Young unpeeled tender rhubarb gives a pink sauce—older stalks peeled furnish a translucent green. Either is sufficiently decorative. They can be made more so, if the tarts they appear on, have a cherry or preserved strawberry dropped in the middle of them.

From "The Whitehouse Cookbook" published 1887


Cut the large stalks off where the leaves commence, strip off the outside skin, then cut the stalks in pieces half an inch long; line a pie dish with paste rolled rather thicker than a dollar piece, put a layer of the rhubarb nearly an inch deep; to a quart bowl of cut rhubarb put a large teacupful of sugar; strew it over with a saltspoonful of salt and a little nutmeg grated; shake over a little flour; cover with a rich pie crust, cut a slit in the centre, trim off the edge with a sharp knife and bake in a quick oven until the pie loosens from the dish. Rhubarb pies made in this way are altogether superior to those made of the fruit stewed.

RHUBARB PIE. (Cooked.)

Skin the stalks, cut them into small pieces, wash and put them in a stewpan with no more water than what adheres to them; when cooked, mash them fine and put in a small piece of butter; when cool, sweeten to taste; if liked, add a little lemon-peel, cinnamon or nutmeg; line your plate with thin crust, put in the filling, cover with crust and bake in a quick oven; sift sugar over it when served."

The pie crust in the first (allegedly "superior") recipe would have been quite thick, compared to what we normally would use today for a pie. I surmise this might be because baking that way would have been just as runny back then as it would be today.