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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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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

I really don’t know why I never shared the recipe for tiramisu on this blog. My irreplaceable favorite in a long list of desserts I am known to have a major faible for, the evergreen Italian classic holds a special place in my heart and on the menu card of many posh restaurants. Ordering tiramisu and getting it served takes all of 5 minutes as it is a great make-ahead dessert that keeps well frozen for days. Simply take it out 30 seconds before serving time, dust generously with good quality cocoa powder and top with a few Michel Cluizel chocolate covered coffee beans to impress. Tish Boyle‘s recipe does not need any messing around, follow everything verbatim and there is no reason why you will not start making your own tiramisu on a regular basis.

Originally from northern Italy, this trifle-like dessert is made by layering ladyfingers or similar sponge textured cake dipped in espresso syrup and creamy mascarpone filling. Some recipe use coffee liquors and some try to omit the use of raw eggs due to Salmonella concerns, so it may be safer to briefly cook the yolks over a bain marie first before folding them into the filling. Whatever technique you use for your biscuit and mascarpone layers, the end result should literally ‘lift you off your feet’, which loosely translates for the word tiramisu, a delight which truly lives up to its name.

TIRAMISU

For the Genoise

1 cup sifted cake flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 large eggs, room temperature

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the Espresso Syrup

1 cup hot espresso or strongly brewed coffee

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Mascarpone Cream

6 large egg yolks, room temperature

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon (15 ml) water

1 pound (454 g) mascarpone cheese

3 tablespoons (45 ml) dark rum

1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Assembly & Garnish

Dutch-processed cocoa powder, for dusting

Chocolate-covered espresso beans

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease the bottom and sides of two 9-inch round cake pans and dust with flour.

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk eggs and sugar by hand. Set bowl over a pan of simmering water.

  • Cook until the eggs are warm. Transfer bowl to the electric mixer stand and attach the whisk attachment.

  • Beat on high speed until the mixture has tripled in volume for about 4 minutes. Reduce the speed to low.

  • Beat in the lemon zest and vanilla extract. Resift 1/3 of flour mixture over the batter and gently fold it in.

  • In 2 more additions, sift in remaining flour mixture, folding gently. Place melted butter in a small bowl.

  • Scoop about 3/4 cup cake batter into the bowl and stir until blended. Fold this into the remaining batter.

  • Scrape batter into prepared pans. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until top springs back when lightly touched.

  • Cool the cakes in the pans set on wire racks for 15 minutes. Invert the cakes onto the wire rack and cool.

  • In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the espresso and sugar, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.

  • Stir in vanilla extract and set syrup aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, and water.

  • Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water such that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water.

  • Continue to whisk constantly, until the mixture thickens and is hot to the touch, for about 7 to 8 minutes.

  • Immediately scrape the mixture into a cold bowl. Cover and refrigerate the mixture until completely cool.

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, using paddle attachment, beat mascarpone at medium speed till creamy.

  • Gradually beat in the cooled egg yolk mixture and the dark rum and mix until everything is well blended.

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, using whisk attachment, beat cream and vanilla till it forms soft peaks.

  • Gently fold the whipped cream into the yolk mixture. To assemble, cut out 12 rounds from cooled cakes.

  • Use a cookie cutter to fit the diameter of serving glasses. Arrange one round in the bottom of each glass.

  • Brush generously with espresso syrup. Top with layer of mascarpone cream and add another cake round.

  • Brush with more syrup. Fill the glass with more cream, smoothing the top. Repeat with remaining cake.

  • Dust the top of each tiramisu with sifted cocoa powder. Garnish with chocolate-covered espresso beans.

Tiramisu

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PrerrnaMirchi
Mauritius

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