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Panna cotta is dessert I think I should make more often. It is one of those examples which justifies the old adage that ‘simple is beautiful’ or ‘less is more’. All the way from Italy, this delicate chilled pudding is traditionally made from cream and gelatin with a side serving of fruit coulis. You can play around with the gelling agent and the dairy as long as your final product has a soft set and a slight wobble with a smooth, melt-in-the-mouth texture. You need to make sure your mixture does not turn lumpy or gritty at any point; it is not a good idea to walk away from your pan as it goes on the stovetop. If you are worried that it does not get to set properly, you can serve this vanilla speckled strawberry panna cotta, from BBC Good Food, right out of dessert cups or shot glasses instead of unmolding it on a plate.

STRAWBERRY PANNA COTTA

Ingredients:

For the Panna Cotta

3 agar agar leaves

450ml double cream

200ml whole milk

100g white caster sugar

1 vanilla pod

For the Strawberries

400g strawberries, hulled

1½ teaspoon corn flour

50g white caster sugar

Method:

  • For the panna cotta, put agar agar leaves in a small bowl of cold water to soften, about 5 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, pour the cream, milk and sugar into a pan, split the vanilla pod, scrape out the seeds.

  • Add the seeds, along with the pod, to the cream mixture. Heat gently until hot, but not bubbling.

  • Remove agar agar leaves from the water, squeeze out any excess liquid then add to the hot cream.

  • Stir the mixture until agar agar is dissolved and leave to stand for 20 to 30 minutes until cooled.

  • The vanilla pods should be suspended in the liquid by this point. Strain mixture through a sieve.

  • Pour into 6 serving glasses, then chill for at least 3 hours. Toss strawberries in a small saucepan.

  • Add the corn flour and sugar in a saucepan. Place over a medium heat and cook for 4 to 5 minutes.

  • Cook until the released juices thicken and strawberries are softened. Set the mixture aside to cool.

  • Once completely cooled, top panna cottas with the strawberry mixture. Chill until ready to serve.

Strawberry Panna Cotta

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This spectacular fruit salad, from Carl’s Bad Cravings, combines all my favorite seasonal fruits together for a refreshing summer treat. Chunks of chilled watermelon, pineapple and mango, dunked in honey and lime mint dressing, are fabulous on their own though you could add blueberries, strawberries, kiwis or pretty much anything sitting in your fruit bowl that does not look too boring. I do not bother with the grilling process as I do not think it is worth heating up a grill to build a simple fruit salad. But if you already set for a BBQ party, you might as well char your pineapple and watermelon slices for a couple of minutes before adding them to this colourful jumble of chopped fruit.

WATERMELON & PINEAPPLE SALAD

Ingredients:

For the Fruit Salad

1/2 watermelon, sliced into 1″ slices

1 pineapple, sliced into 1″ slices

2 ripe mangoes, peeled and diced

1 pint blueberries or strawberries

For the Honey Lime Mint Dressing

1/4 cup pure honey

1/4 cup lime juice

1 tablespoon lime zest

1/4 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons fresh mint

Method:

  • Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients and chill mixture for at least 20 minutes.

  • Preheat grill to medium high heat. Grill pineapple for 8-10 minutes or until caramelized.

  • Grill watermelon for 4 minutes until grill marks appear, turning once but do not overcook.

  • You can either refrigerate pineapple and watermelon separately or serve fresh off the grill.

  • When ready to serve, chop watermelon and pineapple. Add to a large bowl with other fruit.

  • Pour desired amount of dressing over fruit salad and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

Watermelon & Pineapple Salad

Kulfi, often likened to ice cream, actually bears subtle differences which completely sets it apart from its American counterpart. This, you will notice, as soon as you start making your own kulfi at home. Firstly, kulfi does not use eggs, which makes it safe and accessible to a larger group of foodies. The process of making this traditional Indian dessert will need you to be patient as you wait for milk to come to a slow boil; it should be thick enough to coat a spoon like a custard. The texture will remain somewhat coarse and grainy, and even more so if you plan to add ground almonds, as kulfi is not churned to get rid of ice crystals as it is done for ice cream.

This delightfully easy mango kulfi, from Cooking from Heart, works best with freshly plucked, fragrant mangoes though you can also use frozen or canned if they are not in season. This year, we have unfortunately not been blessed with a long mango season and good quality mangoes have been rare and rather expensive but do not let this keep you from trying homemade mango kulfi. If you happen to have any leftover mango pulp after this, you can always whip it with some plain yogurt to make mango lassi, a refreshing summer drink.

MANGO KULFI

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups milk

1/4 cup cream

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup almonds

3 tablespoons pistachios

2 green cardamom pods

3/4 cup mango pulp

Method:

  • In a mixer jar, add 1/4 cup of almonds along with 2 cardamoms and grind to a fine powder.

  • In a bowl, add milk and bring it to boil. Next add fresh cream and let it heat on a low flame.

  • Add ground almond powder and mix well before it turns lumpy. Cook till mixture thickens.

  • Add sugar and mix until completely dissolved. Remove from heat and cool down completely.

  • Mix mango pulp with milk mixture. Sprinkle pistachio slivers at the bottom of kulfi molds.

  • Pour cooled mango mixture into prepared molds and sprinkle more pistachio slivers on top.

  • Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours until set. Gently push an ice cream stick halfway into each kulfi.

  • Dip the molds in warm water to release the kulfi and serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.

Mango Kulfi

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PrerrnaMirchi
Mauritius

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