20 minutes plus 2 hours chilling.
Last night Fabio was feeling better, so the dinner was back on. Having not done any prep, I was only able to do three courses, but we were well and truly stuffed so that’s probably for the best. For the first course I made a selection of antipasti, including peperonata, onions agro dolce, my famous pesto stuffed eggplant rolls, oyster mushroom calamari with aioli, Sicilian green olives (aka the best olives in the world, but I didn’t make those) and herbed cannellini beans. Yummo!
For the second course I made Italian style carbonara, as requested by Fabio, which I will post soon. It was eggy and cheesy perfection.
But of course, this post is about the dessert. Fabio likes fruity desserts and isn’t a big fan of cake, and I have made fruit flans the last two years in a row, so it was time for something new. Given how warm it has been this October, and how much food we were going to eat before dessert, I decided to make something light, and a pannacotta was the perfect choice. This is an unexpected explosion of tropical fruit and summer, perfectly balanced by the hazelnut ‘praline’ and creamy coconut, that will have your guests scraping the plate. It’s easy to make sugar free, which I did, using xylitol or sweetener of choice.
For the pannacotta
700ml pure coconut cream (one without added gums or stabilizers)
100ml water (room temperature)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
Finely grated zest of two limes
Heaped half cup sugar or xylitol (or up to 3/4 cup if you want it sweeter)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp agar agar powder
For the ‘praline’
1/2 cup roasted hazelnuts
1/4 cup coconut chips/shredded coconut
2 fresh medjool dates
1 1/2 cups cold diced fresh or defrosted frozen mango
The pulp from 4 passionfruits OR equal amount of tinned passionfruit
Strawberries and mint leaves
1. Whisk together the coconut milk, water, lime juice, lime zest, vanilla and sugar/xylitol in a saucepan until smooth. Whisk in the agar agar powder and let sit 5-10 minutes.
2. Bring the contents of the saucepan to the boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Be sure to really scrape the bottom with the whisk. Reduce to a simmer and continue to cook, stirring constantly, for 7-8 minutes. At this point I switch between a rubber spatula and a whisk to ensure no sticking to the bottom of the pot.
3. Pour the mixture into a glass or ceramic rectangular container, somewhere around 15cm x 20cm. Leave to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until cold (around 2 hours)
4. To make the ‘praline’, place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until you have a fairly fine crumb.
5. Assemble when ready to serve: Use an immersion blender to puree the mango, then spoon a couple of tablespoons onto each plate. Cut the pannacotta into 8 equal pieces and place on the mango. Spoon the flesh of half a passionfruit on top of each slice of pannacotta. Scatter a spoon of the ‘praline’ any way you like onto the plate, and garnish with a few strawberries and mint leaves.