I’ve been meaning to make panna cotta for ages, but I never got around to getting the special moulds so the panna cotta project kept being put on the back burner. But when I tasted Marion’s Grasby’s kaffir lime panna cotta at the Good Food and Wine Show in Melbourne, I just knew I had to finally make some at home.
Created by Masterchef’s former contestant and available at the Show’s Oxford Landing Estates Restaurant for $8, the creamy kaffir lime panna cotta was beautifully fragrant and so delightfully different from the traditional vanilla bean version. Drizzled with lime syrup to cut through the creamy richness of the dessert and topped with chopped, fresh strawberries it was a pleasure to look at and, even more so, to eat.
I didn’t have a recipe to recreate the dessert, so I did some research on a basic panna cotta to get the rough idea of the proportions of cream and milk and adapt the rest. I reduced the amount of sugar and changed the vanilla bean to kaffir lime leaves. I also adjusted the amount of gelatine further – I wanted creamy, not jelly-like. The rest was pretty straight forward. And delicious, I might add. And so moreish.
Now, the other best thing I discovered about the panna cotta sold at the show was that it was served in stemless wine glasses. No need to fiddle with moulds, worrying about torn or stuck edges – that’s the sort of easy entertaining I like. Genius!
Since drafting this post, I have found Marion’s original kaffir lime panna cotta recipe in July’s issue of Masterchef Magazine, which features a few recipes from her new book, Marion Recipes and stories from a hungry cook, (Pan MacMillan, A$14.99 as eBook).
Makes 4 dessert serves or 8 canapés
Kaffir lime panna cotta with lime syrup and fresh strawberries
You can use panna cotta moulds if you like, but I prefer the ease of setting and serving the dessert in stemless wine glasses or shot glasses if you want a smaller, canapé-style serving. Also, I don’t mind using powdered gelatine – it is more widely available and when used sparingly it sets the liquid without feeling rubbery.
- 1 1/2 cups fresh cream
- 1/2 cup full fat milk
- 1/8 cup sugar
- 8 kaffir lime leaves
- 2 1/2 tsp gelatine powder
- 2 tbsp boiling water
Lime syrup and strawberries
- Juice of 1 lime (1/4 cup)
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 4 tbsp water
- 6-8 (120g) fresh strawberries
To make panna cotta: place cream, milk and roughly chopped kaffir lime leaves into a medium saucepan. Cook on low heat until the mixture comes up to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to infuse for 15-20 minutes, whisking from time to time to prevent the “skin” from forming.
Remove kaffir lime leaves and discard. Return saucepan to the heat and mix in sugar until it is dissolved. Turn off the heat. Dissolve gelatine in boiling water, removing any lumps that may form. Add gelatine to the hot cream mixture and whisk to combine. Divide mixture between your choice of glassware, or panna cotta moulds. Allow to set in the fridge for at least 1 hour before serving.
To prepare lime syrup and strawberries: wash and hull strawberries. Slice then chop them into a fine dice. Set aside. Mix water with sugar until sugar dissolves. Add lime juice and mix.
To serve: top each panna cotta with freshly diced strawberries and pour over some sugar syrup (1 tablespoon each for a dessert serve, 1 teaspoon each for canapés). Enjoy right away or store in the fridge to consume within 24 hours.