Archive | January, 2016

Vanilla Panna Cotta

18 Jan

This is my second attempt for panna cotta. It is actually very easy to make. As long as you master the ratio of the gelatin to the liquid you will make some perfect panna cottas. Some recipes use gelatin power, while the others use gelatin leave. The ratio depends on what type of gelatin you use. The only issue I had in the first time was the panna cotta separated into two layers after it set. I have googled it and it appears to be a common issue if using milk and cream together – the mixture becomes non-homogenized. This time I used half and half, and I have achieved the perfect result! The panna cotta was silky, creamy and smooth. It jiggled after I unmolded it (This is the sign of a good panna cotta). This cold dessert is perfect for summer. 🙂

I have adapted few different recipes together, this is what worked for me.

Vanilla panna cotta

  • 3 cups half and half (you can replace it with 1.5 cups milk and 1.5 cups cream)
  • 3 tsps gelatin power
  • 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla paste (you can replace it with 1 vanilla pod)
  1. Pour the half and half into a saucepan and sprinkle the powdered gelatin evenly over top. Let soften for 10 minutes or until the surface of the milk is wrinkled and the gelatin grains look wet and slightly dissolved (this is called blooming).
  2. Set the saucepan over low heat and warm the half and half gently, stirring or whisking frequently until the gelatin dissolves.
  3. Stir the vanilla paste and the sugar into the half and half and continue warming until it dissolves as well.
  4. Divide the mixture evenly between four ramekins. Cut a small piece of paper towl to put on top of each ramekin and wrap each ramekin tightly with plastic food wrap (paper towl will absorb the condensation). Put the ramekins in the refrigerator to chill at least 6 hours.
  5. To unmold it, run a palette knife around the sides of the ramekin. Don’t slide the knife all the way into the cup; just release the top edge of the panna cotta from the edge of the ramekin. Fill a large bowl partway with warm to hot water. Dip the ramekin in the warm water up to its rim for a few seconds. Invert the ramekin over a plate and shake gently to help the panna cotta fall out. (The panna cotta will melt quickly, so don’t leave the ramekin in the warm water for too long. If it doesn’t fall out then put the ramekin back to the warm water for another few seconds.)
  6. Serve with fruit coulis or fresh fruit.

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Coconut and lime bars

18 Jan

I couldn’t find fresh limes the other day so I bought a pack of lime juice instead. I had a lot of lime juice leftover after I only added a little bit in the salad. In order to finish it I searched for dessert recipes with lime juice and I found one that I wanted to try most – Coconut and Lime Bar. Also this would be a nice thank-you gift to one of my friends.

I was concern about the sugar level (especially after Christmas and New Year), so I cut down the amount of sugar (slightly under 1/2 cup in the filling). It turned out the bars were leaning to the sour side, however it was still nice to eat. Add more sugar if you have a sweet tooth. I must say coconut and lime are a perfect match.

Coconut & lime Bars (click here for the original recipe)
By Lemons & Anchovies

For the Crust
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup powdered sugar
6 tbsps dessicated coconut
¼ tsp kosher salt
56g cold, unsalted butter, diced small
4 tbsps vegetable oil
Cooking spray
For the Filling
½ cup caster sugar (this is for a tart filling. Use ¾ cup for a sweeter sweet version)
2 heaping tbsps all-purpose flour
Zest of one limes
¾ cup lime juice
3 large eggs
Powdered sugar for dusting

  1. Preheat your oven to 175C and spray an 8×8 inch baking pan with cooking spray.
    To prepare the crust: Place the flour, ½ cup powdered sugar, dessicated coconut and salt in a food processor. Pulse a couple of times to combine then add the butter and oil. Pulse 6-8 times until the mixture resembles the texture of coarse meal.
  2. Transfer the mixture to the baking pan and press into the bottom and sides. Bake for about 20 minutes or until lightly browned.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the filling: Combine the caster sugar, flour, lime zest, eggs and coconut in a medium bowl. Whisk in the lime juice, a little at a time at first to prevent lumps, until the mixture is smooth. When the crust is lightly browned, pour the filling into the baking pan.
  4. Reduce the oven temperature to 160C and bake for about 20 minutes or until the filling is just set.
  5. Remove from the oven, cool on a wire rack then refrigerate for at least 2 hours to allow the filling time to set properly. Dust with powdered sugar and cut into squares of your preferred size.