Wednesday, October 17, 2007

My little Italian adventure - Part 3: Lime Panna cotta

Lime panna cotta (from above)

Here's one from the vault! A few months ago I started a series of postings entitled "My Little Italian Adventure". I think I promised three posts. Well, two of them has long been posted but this little one was lost, buried under the tons of draft posts that I have sitting in blogger.

Not anymore! Here is the final installment on "My little Italian adventure" series. We kicked off the series with an entree of a caprese salad. My first ever home made lasagne was served as the main and finally to polish off the meal, I present to you "Lime Panna Cotta".

I know, lime's not exactly a very Italian ingredient, but I was hooked when I saw this delicious looking Lime panna cotta recipe in the September 2006 issue of delicious magazine that had a lovely caramel coating on it. Very creme caramel like.

The recipe in the magazine makes 2 large panna cottas. That's a lot if I had to finish it by myself! Luckily, I found a vanilla panna cotta recipe of a smaller portion in Sophie Bambridge's Simply Italian (which I had been using as a guide throughout this series). So I decided to adapt the ingredients to the smaller recipe instead - just in case I had to finish it myself.

Lime panna cotta

Lime Panna Cotta
adapted from Sep 2006 issue of delicious and Simply Italian


- Caramel
220g (1 cup) caster sugar
60ml water

- Panna cotta
Pared rind of 1 lime
2 kaffir lime leaves
450ml cream - pure or thick/double (Note: See verdict for suggestion)
4 tbsp caster sugar
3 leaves or 1¼ tsp gelatine powder

- Passionfruit caramel strawberries
125g caster sugar
40ml water + another 60ml water (for the caramel)
250g strawberries
juice and seeds of 3 passionfruit
3 kaffir lime leaves thinly sliced


- Caramel
  1. Place water and sugar in a small saucepan and stir over low heat to dissolve the sugar.
  2. Once dissolved, increase heat to medium, and without stirring, let the sugar cook for 5 - 6 minutes until the colour resembles toffee. (If required, you can use a wet pastry brush to brush down the crystals stuck on the side of the pan)
  3. Divide the caramel into 125ml capacity metal or ceramic ramekins and set aside to cool.
- Panna cotta
  1. Place cream, lime rind and lime leaves and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring as you go to dissolve the sugar.
  2. Once sugar has dissolved, let it simmer for about 3 minutes then remove from heat and set aside to infuse for approximately 10minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, (a) if using gelatine leaves, soak them in cold water for 5 minutes to soften and then squeeze out any excess water and add gelatine to the warm cream, stirring to dissolve. (b) If using gelatine powder, simply sprinkle it over the hot cream in an even layer and allow it to sit for a minute before stirring it into the cream until it dissolves.
  4. Strain cream mixture into a jug, discard the lime leaves and rind and then pour into the pre-prepared ramekins.
  5. Cover and chill overnight.
  6. To serve, dip the bases of each ramekin briefly into hot water (don't let the water get into the ramekin/mould) and then invert onto serving platters.

You might end up dipping the bases a few times before you are able to invert the panna cotta out of the ramekin. If there is trouble unmoulding it, use a small knife, toothpick or cake tester, run it around the outer edge and then tip it quickly into your serving plate.
- Strawberries
  1. Place sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and stir until sugar dissolves.
  2. Once dissolved, increase heat to medium, and without stirring, let the sugar cook for 5 - 6 minutes until the colour resembles toffee. (If required, you can use a wet pastry brush to brush down the crystals stuck on the side of the pan)
  3. Remove from heat and carefully add passionfruit juice and seeds to the pan with 1/4 cup of water.
  4. Return to stove and stir on low heat for 2 - 3 minutes until warmed through. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  5. Place in a bowl with strawberries and kaffir lime leaves and toss to coat.
  6. Serve as side to panna cotta.

lime pc polaroid

My verdict:

The panna cotta was surprisingly very very rich and had a coconutty flavour to it. (Not sure why?) As I had never had panna cotta before, I wasn't sure what to expect re: the taste or texture but heck, who cares, as long as it tastes good right? ;)

I suspect it had to do with the fact that I used double cream for the panna cotta. Certainly, the richness of this dessert has a lot to do with the type of cream (thin or double cream) you use to make this dessert.

I saved one for Kathy (my boss) and Jules, both who are very well versed in cooking and baking and they said it was delicious. Kathy reassured me that it's the right texture and confirmed that it was the double cream that was the reason behind the richness.

As for Jules, she just wanted more!

Oh and the strawberries, they were bellissimo! =)

Lime and Kaffir Lime leaves

- My little Italian adventure - Part 1: That salad
- My little Italian adventure - Part 2: The recipe, the ingredients and the woman


K & S said...

I never knew about pannacotta until I moved to Japan. I can't wait to make some! yours looks and sounds delish!

Ginger said...

Oh yummy yummy! I have not tried panna cotta before, but it sure does looked a lot like creme caramel to me. Looked real good! Btw, thanks for your comments, it made up for the lost ones. ;)

Anh said...

Just beautiful! Love it!

I adore the 2nd last photo. So sinful!

Hungry Hamster said...

Great photography! The panna cotta looks really smooth and silky!

NJ_La said...

i u going to make me this when you come?

Patricia Scarpin said...

This looks sinful!
I love how creamy it looks.

Julia said...

That looks stunning. Perfect colours.

ilingc said...

Kat: Hi Kat. Try it! It's surprisingly quite easy to make. Can't wait to see how yours turns out. :)

Ginger: This one looks a lot like creme caramel doesn't it? Esp the toffee/caramel bit.

Re: the comments, Always happy to assist where I can. :) Hope you get your blog fixed up again soon.

Anh: Thanks Anh. The polariod pic was an after thought. I had just finished with the photos and was digging in when I took a spoonful and saw the effect.
I'm very proud of that photo! :D

Hungry Hamster: Thanks HH.

Ange: Yah, I'll make you some. As soon as I get some utensils :)

Patricia: Thanks Patricia. Twas very creamy and considering the double cream that I used to make it, definitely very sinful! :D

Julia: Thanks Julia :)

delicieux said...

Lime panna cotta sounds divine and your presentation makes it even more irresistable!!!


Anna said...


Looks fantastic, sounds fantastic... I'm drooling over my dry rice crackers. Definitely something to try when I'm feeling adventurous (or at least mildly competent) in the kitchen.