Aspic is a savory gelatin made from consommé or clarified stock. Because consommé is high in gelatin, it hardens when it cools, forming aspic.
Aspic can be prepared as a mold with various ingredients such as meat, vegetables or egg set into the mold. Cream may be added to create a chaud-froid. The aspic is chilled and then sliced and served.
Used in this way, aspic is an effective method for preserving foods because the gelatin seals off the oxygen, preventing the growth of bacteria that cause food spoilage.
Aspic can also be used as a glaze for appetizers and cold food platters. It's sometimes known as aspic jelly or aspic gelée.
Aspic is traditionally made from consommé, and this process can be time-consuming. To save time, some modern kitchens prepare aspic by fortifying water or ordinary stock with added gelatin. This technique produces an inferior product, in terms of both flavor and texture.