Gelatin is an unflavored thickener made from animal protein. It’s used to thicken desserts like mousses, puddings, and panna cottas. Since it’s not a common ingredient in cooking and baking, most people aren’t very familiar with it. But don’t be intimidated! It’s actually very easy to work with.

First, dissolve the gelatin in a cold liquid. This will make it easier to combine with the other ingredients. Then, it’s warmed to melt it completely and to activate its thickening power. Be sure not to let it boil, or you’ll destroy that thickening power and it won’t set. The final step is to chill it to let the gelatin take effect.