This may sound odd, but I love things that are squishy.
I like play-doh, I like bean bag chairs, I like overweight animals, and I even like the word squishy. Say it out loud: squishy.
I bet you’re smiling.
Anyways, let’s get down to business. As you can tell, I am a tad sugar high and quite pleased with myself.
Since waking up to find London immersed in fog and rain, again, today was definitely an indoor day, and what better place to be indoors than the kitchen.
One of my favorite desserts in the world is an Italian Panna Cotta. Panna meaning cream and cotta meaning cooked, the dessert essentially consists of cooked cream. I’ve been craving this dessert for weeks and decided I would make myself some as a kickoff to my Birthday Week. Yes, I get a week.
The good thing about this recipe is that it is so incredibly easy to make. The bad thing, it’s so incredibly naughty.
400ml canned Coconut Milk
200ml Full-Fat Milk
50g Caster Sugar
1 Vanilla Pod
12g Powdered Gelatin (or leaves)
Serves: about 3
1. Pour the coconut milk and milk into a saucepan, then add the sugar. Split the vanilla pod in half and scrape out the seeds. Add seeds and empty pod into the pan, and give everything a good stir. Bring the mixture to a boil, and be ready to have the most glorious smelling kitchen in the entire world. Once the mixture is fully boiling (not just a few little bubbles), remove from heat and leave to infuse for 5 minutes. Seriously, walk away.
2. After 5 minutes, return to glorious smelling brew. Spoon 200ml of the hot mixture into a bowl. Shake in your powdered gelatin whilst whisking until it has dissolved into the mixture. If it’s not dissolving completely, return the mixture to a gentle heat for 1-2 minutes and stir. Stir back into the coconut mixture and discard the vanilla pod.
3. Pour the mixture into little ramekins or moulds, preferably with a cool shape. Imagine how it will look upside-down. This recipe is enough for 3 good sized desserts, but you could always make lots of little Panna Cottas or a couple larger ones.
4. Place in the fridge for at least 3 hours, until they are firm with a slight wobble. Squishy.
As my little desserts sat to harden safely in the fridge, I saw my massive bowl of pineapple and decided to experiment.
I heard the Dessert Gods in my head warning me to never experiment with baking. But, this isn’t really baking, is it? I’m using a stove and things are boiling, surely that counts as cooking.
I am so glad I ignored the Dessert Gods because my experiment could not have turned out better!
If you’re willing to defy the Dessert Gods and want to add some serious flavour to your Panna Cotta, I give you: Caramelised Pineapple & Coconut Sauce with Mint Sugar. This was an in the moment experiment so hopefully my instructions are accurate enough to get you the same yummy sauce.
1 cup Ripe Pineapple
1/2 cup Caster Sugar
1 tblsp Water
1 tblsp Vanilla Extract
1/3 cup Coconut Milk
1/3 cup Double Cream
Handful of Fresh Mint
1 tblsp Sugar
1. Pour sugar and water into a saucepan and place on medium heat. Stir until sugar has almost completely dissolved.
2. Chop pineapple into small chunks and add to your saucepan. Add vanilla extract. Stir pineapple with vanilla and sugar water and let simmer for about 8 minutes until the pineapple begins to break down and brown.
3. I wanted the sauce to be slightly creamy, but still maintain the juiciness of the pineapple, so I decided to make my sauce a full fat situation. If you want, you can stop here and have a perfectly yummy sauce. But, I don’t think you want to. Stir in coconut milk and double cream and remove from heat.
4. Finely chop fresh mint leaves and mash together with sugar with a mortar and pestle. A spoon and bowl works just fine if you can’t find your mortar and pestle, like me.
And Voilá! Experimental Caramelised Pineapple and Coconut Sauce with Mint Sugar!
3+ hours later: They’re DONE!
Boil some water and dip the mould for about 10 seconds to loosen the Panna Cotta. Don’t leave it in the water too long as it will instantly begin to melt. Turn onto a serving plate and wait for it to plop out. There it is! Your squishy, flawless masterpiece.
Top with warm Caramelised Pineapple and Coconut Sauce and garnish with a sprinkling of Mint Sugar.