Thursday, 1 November 2012

Lime Panna Cotta with Ginger Syrup

I absolutely love a panna cotta, but I'm not such a fan of a pavlova. Right off the bat this might seem like an odd distinction to make, but there's a reason behind my telling you this. My girlfriend, she loves a pavlova, and she'll make them every now and again. Unfortunately for me I tend to get these two puddings mixed up in my head, and I have a very selective short-term memory. Long story short; I've lost track of the amount of times I've been sat at the table excited for the creamy, wobbly goodness that is panna cotta, only to be greeted with a bowl of meringue and some fruit. I'm not sure if she'll read this, but if she does I think I can safely say I've solved that problem. Anyway, here are some lovely panna cottas...those are the good ones.
To crack on with the panna cotta, start by brushing three 150ml pudding moulds with some vegetable or sunflower oil. Not much is needed, just a lining so the pudding slides out nice and easy like. Mix 190ml of milk (full-fat...obviously) with the same of double cream and gently heat on the hob.
Take one lime, zest it and chop it into large-ish chunks. Add to the cream mixture along with 50g of caster sugar. Bring this tasty concoction to the boil, then take off the heat. Try not to forget the sugar, by the way. I did this and had to go back on myself quite a bit. Considering there are about 5 ingredients in this whole pudding, I'm not particularly proud of this.
Pour about a quarter of the cream mixture (and none of the lime) into a separate bowl, leaving the remainder to infuse with the fruit. Add 1 teaspoon of gelatine powder to the smaller mixture and mix well.
Once both mixtures have cooled down completely, mix them both together (it's basically all mixing...if you can't mix, you don't stand a chance with this recipe). Strain the liquid through a fine sieve and pour into the greased moulds. Bang them in the fridge to set - you're good to go in an hour or two.

This ginger syrup was excellent - it adds a nice little zing to the dish. I write that fully aware that if anyone ever described anything to me as having 'zing' I would automatically write them off as an idiot. Oh well, 25-odd posts in I think I made that bed a long time ago. Add 1 cup of sugar to 1 cup of water and bring to the boil over a medium heat. When the sugar has dissolved, add about 1/2 a cup of grated fresh ginger. Leave to simmer for about 15 minutes until the mixture has thickened slightly then remove from the heat, let it cool, strain the liquid and stick it in the fridge. 

Because I'm a bit of a showoff, I wanted to make some candied lime slices to stick on top of the panna cotta. Start by slicing a lime nice and thinly, then blanch the slices in boiling water for two minutes or so. Drain the limes, then just as I did with the syrup mix a cup of water with a cup of sugar and bring to the boil. Add the lime slices and simmer for about 15 minutes. You know they're ready when the edges become almost translucent. 
Drain off the water and leave the limes to cool and dry for as long as possible, at least an hour. Pour some caster sugar in a bowl and drop the slices in one at a time to coat with the sugar. Just like that.
And that's the job done. Turn the panna cottas out onto a plate, top with the ginger syrup and the candied lime and go to town. Beats some nasty old meringue any day (sorry Charlie).

Ingredients
Panna Cotta
180ml full fat milk
180ml double cream
50g caster sugar
sunflower oil
1 lime
1 teaspoon gelatine powder
Ginger syrup
1/2 cup fresh ginger
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Candied limes
1 lime
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

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