I’m back! Thanks for sticking around. We had a glorious trip through Colorado. Did you know they have 54 mountains with an elevation of 14,000 feet or more? Quite impressive. I’d like to say we hiked them, but just tackling 9500 feet was ‘breathtaking.’ We ate very well along the way, even scored a few farmers’ markets. Let me know if any of you are planning to travel there; I have plenty of suggestions on where to eat – from Boulder and Telluride, to Crested Butte and Aspen.
Speaking of food (that’s why you’re here, right?)…a few weeks ago I mentioned a dish I made for my final presentation at Bauman College. It was a Coconut Chai Panna Cotta with a Nectarine Coulis and Orange Tuile. As you know, I don’t usually post complicated recipes, but while this one may have one or two more steps, believe me when I tell you it is out.of.this.world.
Coconut Chai Panna Cotta with Nectarine Coulis – Serves 10-12
Notes: The coconut milk offers a creamy alternative to dairy. Agar agar is an alternative to gelatin, but you could also use it if that’s more available. Instead of making your own chai blend, take a couple of chai tea bags and steep in the coconut milk; I had to go all out on graduation day:)
It’s best to make the panna cotta a day before serving to make sure it sets up. The beauty of this dessert – besides being delicious – is that you can prepare it in advance of entertaining.
Ingredients (Panna Cotta)
2 cans coconut milk
1/2 cup palm sugar
1 ½ tsp agar agar powder (can be found in health food stores)
2 tsp rose water
3 Tbsp each
2 cinnamon sticks
2 vanilla beans
- Combine coconut milk, sugar, agar and spices in a medium saucepan over low heat
- Wait until steam rises to the surface and small bubbles form on the side of the pan
- Remove from heat and let steep for minimum two hours
- Strain (save vanilla beans) and pour into large bowl with spout. Add rose water.
- Cut vanilla beans in half and scrape ‘speckles’ into custard mix, then pour into 12-4oz. ramekins (you could also use a muffin tin.)
- Cover and chill for a minimum of 3 hrs, preferably overnight
- To serve, run a knife around the outside edges, and place ramekins into a baking dish with 1-½ inches of water for about thirty seconds to loosen up the panna cotta
- Place about 2 TB of coulis onto dessert plate and gently place inverted panna cotta on top (careful, it will be slippery.)
- Garnish with nectarine wedges and mint.
- Serve with orange tuile, if desired.
Nectarine Coulis – Makes 2-3 cups
You can use any type of fruit puree, but I found the nectarines went best with the chai spices.
1 TB orange juice concentrate
5 ripe nectarines, pitted and coarsely chopped (grab a couple extra for garnish)
1 tsp. vanilla
Pinch of sea salt
- Mix orange juice concentrate with 3 TB water.
- Put in blender and add nectarines and vanilla. Puree until smooth.
- Add salt to taste.