Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Coconut Panna Cotta with Lemongrass and Verbena Topped with Kiwi Sauce

Panna Cotta (which in Italian means "cooked cream") is a dessert traditionally made by simmering together cream, milk and sugar, flavored with vanilla and mixed with gelatin to set. It is served cold and is usually topped with berries, fruit coulis, caramel
or chocolate sauce. They say it has its origins in the Northern Italian region of Piedmont, although it is eaten all over Italy.
I made a sugar-free version of panna cotta, using agave syrup instead and I replaced regular milk with coconut milk. I added lemongrass and verbena, which taste great with the coconut milk and give a unique flavor to this tropical dessert. Finally, I topped it with a fresh kiwi sauce, in which again I added agave syrup and fresh verbena leaves. It’s very light, easy to make, it tastes great and is ideal for summer!
In this recipe I used a pastry mold to chill the panna cotta, but it’s easier to make it in individual cups and when set you just flip them over in plates, or even easier are the individual glasses (wine or martini or any small glass will work great), in which case you just serve the panna cotta as it is with it's topping, without needing to unmould it.
 
Recipe follows.

For the Panna Cotta you’ll need:
1 can coconut milk
2 ½ cups double cream (can be replaced with coconut milk if you prefer)
1/3 cup organic agave syrup
2 stalks fresh lemongrass crashed and split 

2 stalks fresh verbena (can be replaced with mint)
2 packets powdered gelatin
7 tablespoons cold water
1 pastry mold
4 ramekins
Coconut oil (or a neutral-tasting oil)

For the Kiwi Sauce:
4 kiwis, plus extra to garnish
¼ cup organic agave syrup (or more if you like it sweeter!)
5 fresh verbena leaves (optional)


Pour the cream in a medium saucepan and add the lemongrass and verbena leaves. Put it on low heat and bring to boil, stirring it occasionally. Allow it to simmer for about ten minutes then remove from heat and mix in the agave syrup. Add the coconut milk and stir well.
In a different bowl, put 7 tablespoons of cold water, mix in the gelatin and allow it to stand for a couple of minutes. In the meanwhile, apply the coconut oil (or another neutral oil of your choice) on the pastry mold (if you are using glasses, you won’t need the oil at all, since you will serve the panna cotta straight in them).
Using a strainer, pour the panna cotta mixture (while still hot) over the gelatin. Stir well until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Pour your mixture in the pastry mold, cover it, put it in the fridge and allow it to set (it will take about 3 hours but the more you leave it, the more firm it will become).
Just before serving your dessert, prepare the kiwi sauce (you can make it a few hours ahead, but it’s always best to have it fresh and full of vitamins!). Peel and quarter 4 kiwis. Put them in a food processor along with the agave syrup and the verbena leaves. Puree until smooth.  
Remove the set panna cotta from the fridge and unmould it in a large plate or tray. Using lightly oiled ramekins (or just a knife) cut it into portions and serve it in individual plates. Wash a couple of kiwis and, keeping their skin on, cut them in half lengthwise and then slice them thin. Use these to decorate your panna cotta if you wish. Pour about a tablespoon of the kiwi syrup on each portion and decorate with some verbena leaves! 



Enjoy!!!














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1 comment:

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