April 17, 2011

Panna Cotta With Fragrant Finger Limes

Initially, I was excited when Hubby brought home his newfound finger limes. Marmalades and cordial were a few of the ideas I came up with on how to use them. I said to Hubby I needed to go and collect more of the fruit. After a chuckle and a curious grin, he tells me those five finger limes were the sum total of what was left on the tree. Zip, zilch, zero. Nothing left. I was mortified. My excitement quickly faded. Hubby had collected the whole yield; all five of them. Isn't that funny? I'm laughing now, but at the time....not amused.

Back on went my thinking cap; I simply had to do something. I have no idea why 'panna cotta' came to me. Infact I've never made one before. But, like a lightning bolt, the idea struck me and I was sold. I needed to find a recipe and so I drudged my way through some cookbooks (quite a chore for me of late), and there it was. On page 200 of "The French Women Don't Get Fat Cookbook", I spotted my guinea pig recipe. I had all the ingredients, so the rest was easy. I replaced the vanilla extract with the finger lime. Time to discover my newfound flavour.

Panna Cotta with Finger Limes
(recipe adapted from The French Women Don't Get Fat Cookbook"
by Mireille Guiliano)

1 tablespoon unflavoured gelatin
2 tablespoons cold water
225ml whole milk
450ml cream
110gm castor sugar
5 finger limes, each one chopped into small pieces

In a small glass bowl, quickly mix together the gelatine and the cold water. Zap in the microwave till you can see the liquid begin to froth and rise. Turn off. Allow to sit.

In a saucepan, bring the milk, cream, sugar and finger lime to a moderate heat. Take off the heat temporarily. Using a potato masher, gently squish and squash the fruit well into the liquid. It took me a couple of minutes; the purpose was to extract as much of the finger lime flavour as possible.

Return to the heat; bring to a scalding boil. Remove; whisk in gelatine; make sure it's well dissolved. Strain liquid into a pouring jug; press the finger limes to release any remaining juice or oils. If some of the lime balls escape back into the liquid, that's fine.

Divide the mixture among eight ramekins and cool to room temperature.

Cover with plastic film and chill for at least four hours, overnight preferably.

To unmould, just before serving, dip the ramekins on at a time in a bowl of hot water for a few seconds. Run a thin knife around the edge of each ramekin and invert onto your plate.

Verdict: Hubby really, really liked it. I thought it was pretty good for my first attempt. The flavour of the finger lime came through very well. It was rather subtle and not at all zingy. I like zingy though. I also would reduce the gelatine. Maybe two teaspoons, instead of a whole tablespoon. I think it needed more "wobble" - that would be my preference. I will definitely make this panna cotta again, with less gelatine and I think the vanilla would be just the go. Thanks Mireille.

PS:  I have a son knee-deep in uni assignments at present, therefore he gets priority over the computer.  Not that it matters; other areas in my life are in need of my attention, so I'm having a blogging break and hope to see you in a couple of weeks.  I hope you all have a safe, wonderful and happy Easter.   If you'd like some inspiration for the "natural" way of making Easter Eggs, be sure to drop in and see  Philomena's method.


  1. The panacota looks so refreshing esp when lime is involved. MMMMMMMM wld love a bite!

    happy easter Mariana dearest and to your family too . Good to take a break. I have to carry on because I have promised a blogger friend, sarah jane, that I wld use her moulds n blog about them...so off to a busy week for me.

    see u when u get back dear :)


  2. Mariana that looks lovely, and your retro green ramekins I would quite happily have them :-)
    Enjoy your break.

  3. Wishing you and your family a happy easter too Zurin. Oh, and just because I'm having a break from blogging doesn't mean I can't drop in and check up on you when I'm emailing. Hope your busy week is productive. Take care. Mariana xxx

    Cityhippyfarmgirl - if you have an Aldi nearby, hopefully they may have some of the ramekins in stock. Four dollars saw me get six lovely green ramekins - so I got two packets, different patterns. Green of course. Enjoy your Easter break too. Mariana xxx

  4. Oh, I love panna cotta, but finger limes are new to me. Over here, we get some tropical limes the size of ping pong balls, or smaller - are they like that?

    Love it!

  5. No Doc - not round at all. They're named "finger" limes because they are shaped exactly like little fingers.

  6. I love pannacotta, but have never made it - thank you for the recipe! I've also been inspired by you to actually order a finger lime tree - hopefully I read correctly and ordered one that's grafted with all different coloured fruit.. :)

    Have a great Easter break, Mariana! All the best to you and your lovely family!

  7. I've never made it either, though Quin, who I meet dog walking and once picking wild cherries, says he made one with elderflower cordial once. Yours looks tremblingly delicious! As to finger limes, as far as I know they don't turn up here very often, maybe in some fancy London store.... so I will just have to imagine them. Hope your eye is better and holiday plans going well. Joanna

  8. oooh - sounds like a winner to me. Though I too like 'zesty'...
    finger limes are a curiosty over here - never seen one in the flesh, as it were.
    Hope your Easter was lovely!

  9. I adore your blog and am waiting for your next posting. Sometimes I fear you will not return but that would be very difficult to bear. I trust your break is nearing an end. Please come back soon.
    Angela from Brisbane

  10. Gee Celia - I do look forward to seeing some of your results with the finger lime tree. Good luck

    Thanks Joanna - wild cherries - now you're talking. Anything with the 'wild' in it and I'm excited.

    Chelsea - hello there dear. I know you like 'zesty' as you know I do too.

    Angela - Wow. I'm not accustomed to such eagerness about my postings. I must say I am terribly touched. Thank you!! Sorry for the breaks - but I won't be a slave to my blog. It happens when it happens and that is about the best I can promise. Your comment has made my day though.
    Mariana from about eighty kms south of Brisbane.