Monday, May 20, 2013

Vanilla Bean Orange Blossom Coconut Panna Cotta

Milk and I have never gotten along, which is a shame because I love dairy products. Cheese, whipped cream, greek yogurt, cheese cake, pudding, creme fraiche, we're talking about some of my favorite foods and ingredients here, and let's be honest, most milk substitutes suck. Soy milk is terrible for you. Hemp milk (despite my serious love of other hemp products) tastes terrible. Almond and rice milk don't really cook down the way a dairy substitute should.
Then there is coconut. Thank god for coconut. It's thick and creamy like milk, thickens when it cooks, and you can even skim the cream from a can and make coconut whipped cream! Sure it has a stronger taste than most milk substitutes, but that taste is DELICIOUS in sweets (and certain savory dishes).

These are a wonderful alternative to traditional pudding or panna cotta. The taste is light and summery, and the consistency is lovely. I've made many versions of coconut pudding over the years, but this may be my favorite. They're very fattening though, so maybe don't make these every night, no matter how tempting it is. Hey, atleast it's good fat! 
I'm not one for diet-crazes, so I'm not claiming to buy into that coconut oil for weightloss spiel, but it is a bit of a wonder food. 

Zest all sides of your orange.

The start of something lovely.

Sliced open bean, if you look closely you can just barely see its delicious brown vanilla flesh waiting to be scooped out.

Whisk whisk whisk away.

Ramekins eagerly awaiting their filling.

Waiting for them to set is definitely the hardest part of this recipe.

Perfect little cups of heaven.

This is a simple, easy, but really impressive dessert which can easily be made vegan by swapping the gelatin for agar agar. I adapted this recipe from Shop Cook Make's vegan Vanilla Coconut Panna Cotta, I was originally going to make it without adapting, but then I really, really wanted to throw some orange zest in there. 
My one recommendation is this, look at the ingredients in your coconut milk. I have to buy the full fat in order to get a can without guar gum (a harmless thickener) or carrageenan (a dangerous thickener). Pure coconut milk,  made from the water and flesh of a young coconut will always taste best. 
Ok, now I sound like a food-fear mongerer. On to the eats.

Vanilla Bean-Orange Blossom Coconut Panna Cotta

1 envelope Gelatin (or 2 tbsp vegan gelatin like agar agar)
2 Cups Coconut Milk (I used full fat for this, but think light would work)
1/2  a Vanilla Bean
3-4 tbsp Brown Sugar
1 Medium Orange
1 tbsp Water
3 Tbsp Coconut Flakes or Slivered Almonds or Pistachios

Zest your orange using a zester or a fine cheese grater, rub the skin of the orange against the grater until it has zested down to the white pith. Don't zest the white pith, just the orange parts, they're the flavorful bits.

Combine coconut milk, brown sugar, and orange zest in a small sauce pan. 
Slice open vanilla bean the long way (I do this by holding ht ebean down flat and running the point of my knife from top to bottom, splitting the skin), using the tip of your knife scoop out the dark flesh of the vanilla bean, and add it, and the bean to your sauce pan as well.

Place saucepan over medium heat, and cooking, constantly slowly whisking for 5 minutes.

With 1-2 minutes of your five minute cooking time left, set aside the stirring for  moment, and combine your water or gelatin and mix well. 

When the 5 minute cooking time is up, add the water/gelatin mixture to the sauce pan, turn heat to medium-high, and whisk constantly, cooking for 2-3 minutes.

Remove from heat and pour immediately into ramekins, custard cups, or other small serving bowls.
Refrigerate about 4 hours, or until about as firm as flan.

While they chill, toast your nuts or coconut flakes in a dry pan over medium heat until the nuts or coconut flakes turn a light golden brown.

 When the panna cotta is ready to serve, sprinkle with the toasted nuts or coconut flakes. 
Eat these out of the ramekins, they're not meant to be unmolded. 

Share on Tumblr

No comments:

Post a Comment