Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Valentine's Day: Passion Fruit Panna Cotta with Raspberry Purée

Can there be a dessert more sexy than a panna cotta, barely set, voluptuously creamy and quivering in anticipation of being eaten? I don't think so, and to my mind this dessert is doubly sexy because it's made with fresh passion fruit, which has long been favoured as an ingredient in Valentine's Day food. Welcome to the fourth in my series of recipes for lovers.
In my earlier post about granadillas, as we call them in South Africa, I went into a little detail about the origin of the name 'passion fruit', which is not, alas, related to its delicousness or the way you, er, eat it.

I've used the passion fruit quite sparingly in this recipe because, again, I find its flavour very intense, and I didn't want eclipse the lovely creaminess that makes this Italian dessert so special.

Panna cottas are easy to make, but do measure the gelatine powder exactly so that you achieve a soft, silken, trembling set that just holds its shape. Also, be sure to use sweet passion fruit, as sour pulp may curdle the cream and milk.

Valentine's Day: Passion Fruit Panna Cotta with Raspberry Purée
300 ml whole milk
300 ml cream
100 ml caster sugar
a thumb-length strip of lemon zest, white pith removed
4 T (60 ml) fresh passion fruit pulp
1½ tsp (7.5 ml) gelatine powder
1 T (15 ml) tepid water

For the raspberry purée:
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
sugar, to taste

Put the milk, cream and caster sugar into a saucepan and add the strip of lemon zest. Turn on the heat and bring very gently up to just below boiling point, stirring now and then to help the sugar dissolve. Remove from the heat and set aside for 10 minutes so that the flavour of the lemon can infuse.

In the meantime, sprinkle the gelatine over the tablespoon water in a small bowl and set aside to sponge for 5 minutes. Place in a pan of simmering water - which should come half-way up the sides - and leave until clear. Remove and allow to cool for a minute.

Stir the gelatine into the the cream/milk mixture (discard the lemon zest) and then strain the mixture into a clean bowl. Stir in the fresh granadilla pulp.

Pour the mixture into four lightly oiled moulds (ramekin dishes are idea). Allow to cool for another 20 minutes, stir gently to disperse the fruit seeds, and refrigerate for three to four hours, or until set.

To make the raspberry purée, place the raspberries into a blender and whizz until smooth. Now add sugar, to taste. At this point, you can strain the purée to remove the pips, but I prefer it slightly gritty.

Remove the panna cottas from the fridge. Fill a shallow bowl with hot water and dip each dish in the water for 30 seconds (shorter if you're using metal moulds).Use a sharp knife tip to loosen the sides of panna cottas and release the vacuum. Now unmould them onto little flat plates. (The easiest way to do this is to place each little dish face-down on your - clean! - hand and with the other hand smack its base sharply so that the jelly plops out onto your palm.) Slide onto plates and serve with the raspberry sauce.

Makes 4

Like this? Try my Vanilla-and Mace-Scented Panna Cotta with Warm Blueberries
Print Friendly and PDFPrint Friendly


Ishay said...

I don't endorse the commercial schmultz of V-day...but I am an absolute sucker for anything heart-shaped and special treatment, everyday, I say. Lucky love, who got to enjoy this one Janey.

Linda Harding said...

Jane, you're pulling out all the stops with these amazing Valentine's recipes and putting all of us to shame! Gorgeous.