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
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.