Fruit and Lemongrass Panna Cotta
Lemongrass-infused cream is jelled into timbales or molds of panna cotta. The mild cream is accented with a variety of crystallized fruit and fresh fruit. A sauce of passion fruit and hot chilies adds a surprise zing.
- Panna Cotta
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 1-1/2 cups
- Coconut Milk - 1/2 cup, unsweetened
- Sugar - 1/4 cup
- Unflavored gelatin - 1/2 packet
- Cold Water - 1/4 cup
- Vanilla bean - 1
- Lemongrass stalks - 2
- Crystallized Fruit
- Water - 2 cups
- Sugar - 1 cup
- Vanilla bean - 1
- Pineapple* - 1, peeled, cored, and cut into rings
- Coconut Shavings* - 1 cup
- Pear* - 1, cut into very thin vertical slices, then cored
- *select favorite fruits; particular fruits can vary
- Raspberry Tuile
- Fresh Raspberries - 1 pint
- Egg White - 1
- Sugar - 1 tsp
- Passion Fruit - Chili Syrup
- Fresh passion fruits - 6, halved
- Simple Syrup - 1 cup (see Basics)
- Red Chilies - 1/4, seeded and minced
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 1 cup
- Juice and zest of 1 lime
- Sugar - 1/4 cup
- Assorted fresh berries - 1-1/2 cups (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries)
- Mint sprigs - 4
To make the panna cotta: Combine the cream, coconut milk, and sugar in a heavy saucepan. In a small bowl, dissolve the gelatin in the cold water. Split the vanilla bean in half and scrape the seeds into the cream mixture with the point of a sharp knife. Put the pod halves into the cream. Bruise the lemongrass stalks with the back of a heavy knife. Cut into pieces short enough to fit into the pan. Shred finely and add to the cream mixture. Put the mixture over medium heat and heat through, whisking slowly to combine; do not allow the mixture to boil. When the mixture begins to simmer, remove from heat and stir in the softened gelatin. Pour into a bowl and set aside to infuse for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes to keep a skin from forming. When cooled, strain into 2-1/2-inch timbales or molds. Place the molds on a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap; chill overnight.
To make the crystallized fruit: Put the water and sugar into a heavy saucepan. Split the vanilla bean in half and scrape the seeds into the sugar mixture with the point of a sharp knife. Split the bean od again and add all four quarters to the sugar mixture. Heat the mixture over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture reaches a full rolling boil. Lay the selected fruit slices in a single layer in a sided baking sheet. Pour the sugar syrup and vanilla pod pieces over the fruit. Chill overnight. Drain. Preheat the oven to 225 F. Place a Silpat mat or foil over a baking sheet and place the fruits on the prepared sheet. Bake 2 hours, until crisp and dry.
To make the tuiles: Preheat the oven to 275 F. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or foil. Puree all ingredients together in a blender or food processor, then strain through a fine-meshed sieve and put the juice in a squeeze bottle. Pipe small circles of puree on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until dry and firmed, about 2 hours.
To prepare the syrup: Squeeze the passion fruit juice and strain into the simple syrup. Simmer the mixture over medium-low heat to infuse for 20 to 25 minutes. Strain. Add the chilies and lime juice and zest and set aside to cool.
To serve: Beat the cream and sugar together until firm peaks form. Dip the panna cotta molds into hot water up to the rim for a few seconds; dry the outside of the molds and loosen the edges of the panna cotta by pulling the surface gently away from the sides with your fingers. Unmold a panna cotta onto the center of each serving plate. Form the beaten cream into quenelles with two large spoons and place two on each plate. Stand a crystallized pear slice in the quenelles on each plate. Stand two raspberry tuiles in front of each pear slice. Divide the remaining crystallized fruits among the plates and array in front of the panna cotta. Garnish with assorted fresh fruit. Drizzle with passion fruit-chili sauce. Place a mint sprig on each. Lay a vanilla bean quarter over the panna cotta.