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Jiggle Happy!

Jiggle Happy!

Today's post is prompted by a saying on a tee that one of the staff is wearing today at the place where I work for free and pay for over-priced coffee (ok, really wifi-priced coffee) 

"Sorry, I am Different" it says.

So, I told her "Don't be!" and she laughed sheepishly. Why?!

I have always known I was different. I couldn't quite describe how or why but growing up in India, I just felt like deer caught in headlights all the time. ...

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Triple Berry Whopper Pannacotta

Triple Berry Whopper Pannacotta

The perfect Summer dessert is one that requires little effort and delivers a lot of oomph. A pannacotta is a classic that despite much written about its ease always impresses people when done right. This recipe is a play on the joy of layers and depths - a parfait of berry jam and maple vanilla pannacotta topped with preserved berries and fresh blueberries. It is silky and smooth on the tongue, has just enough oomph to make you go all jelly inside and has a sweet finish that leaves you satiated and palate coated. 

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Citrus Frivolous: Orange Pannacotta, Lemon and Poppyseed Semolina Cake and Citrus Sauce - Daring Bakers

Citrus Pannacotta with Semolina Cake and Citrus Syrup
The Citrus Pannacotta was featured Gourmet Live!

I almost did not make this DB challenge. As usual, I pushed it to the eleventh hour, which, normally is manageable. But, this time, the elements were not working with me. The sudden and drastic turn in the weather, last week, left me holding my head in my hands, willing the shooting pain to go muss someone else's life.

Sigh.. yes, Sinus trouble. After 28 years of free breathing and cooperative nasal passages, I seem to be caught in the throes of a mutiny! I am caught powerless and unable to stem the seige. What is worse, it has the most inconvenient timing! All of last week was a wash out of throbbing temples and ineffective medication :(.

Citrus and Poppyseed Semolina cake Collage

So, come Saturday, the 26th, I was still unsure of what the day would bring. To make matters worse, my downstairs neighbor, far too young, was hitting the highs on his stereo and alcohol. At 4 am, I was woken up by my heart thumping irresistibly to the beats of the music reverberating from beneath.

After a frustrating half hour of trying to turn a deaf ear, I woke the poor hub to go do the manly thing and get the guy to see sense. Well.. it's hard to drive sense into a stoned out mind!:-O We spent a good amount of time buzzing the guy's door to no response. We guessed he had passed out and had to go back and make the best of it. So the music went on, and eventually, my poor tired body won over my heart's light footed-ness.

Nevertheless, when I woke up, my sinus was still an issue. Mr. FSK showed me a grandma's technique for nasal wash and it was somewhat effective, atleast for a while. I decided to make the most of my, what was likely to be a, fleeting luxury of painless lucidity. Searching for inspiration, I reached out to my short stack of cookbooks and came across a recipe by Chef Richard Leach that had me captivated.

Citrus Pannacotta 1

It helped that it was a pannacotta dish, just perfect for this challenge. But, what made it interesting was that it was a beautiful and well thought out plated dessert.. one with multiple components like those whipped out by the best pastry chefs. So, I decided to tweak and adapt it, to make it more approachable.

My mind set to the task, I decided to ignore the pangs up North and plowed through it. OK! it was not so bad. The recipe does have multiple components but they are not so time consuming to put together. It does need a bit of planning but is quite worth it.

The warm sponge like cake soaking in the hot citrus syrup forms the perfect counterpoint to the crispy meringue and cold pannacotta. Chef Leach had accompanied a similar dessert with a fruit sorbet and I do think it would have made a great addition to the dessert, making the hot and cold play even more compelling.


So, let me present my Citrus Frivolous: Orange Pannacotta, Lemon and Poppyseed Semolina Cake and Citrus Sauce.

The February 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen. She chose to challenge everyone to make Panna Cotta from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and Nestle Florentine Cookies.

Citrus Pannacotta

2 cups half and half
2 tsp powdered gelatin
zest of 1 orange
zest of 1/2 grapefruit
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 T lemon grass stalks

Bring 1-1/5 cups of half and half and all other ingredients other than the gelatin to a boil. Remove from heat and steep for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, bloom the gelatin in the remaining milk.

Strain out the lemon grass and most of the zest and add the hot milk to the bloomed gelatin and whisk vigorously to dissolve the gelatin completely. Divide into the pannacotta molds and refrigerate for atleast 3 hours. When ready, run a sharp knife around the edges to release the pannacotta from the mold.

Lemon and Poppyseed Semolina Cake

Citrus and Poppyseed Semolina cake 1

1/2 cup apricot flour
1/2 cup fine semolina
1 T poppy seeds (black preferred. I used white because I did not have any black ones)
scant 1/2 cup sugar
zest of 1 lemon
60 g egg whites
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 T baking powder (heaped)

Mix all the ingredients except the butter into a smooth batter. Add the butter and mix just until incorporated. Divide the batter into cup cake molds, filling upto 3/4 level of each mold. Bake at 300 F for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Remove and cool on rack for a few minutes before releasing from the molds.

Citrus Meringue

80 g egg whites
80 g sugared apricot meal (grind 1/2 cup of apricots with 1/4 cup granulated sugar very finely. Reserve the rest for the cake or another use)
2 T cup sugar
zest of 1 grapefruit

Whip the whites to stiff peaks. Slowly add the sugar and continue until the mixture becomes glossy and holds stiff peaks. Mix the zest into the almond meal and gently fold it into the meringue just until incorporated. Transfer to a piping bag with a small round tip and pipe out 2.5 inch disks of about 3 mm thickness on to a silpat. If you have a stencil, it works best.

Bake at 260 F for 20-30 minutes until golden brown. Cool and carefully peel off the disks. Store in an airtight container.

Citrus Sauce

juice of 1 pink grapefruit
2 oranges juiced
2 T sugar (or to taste
1 small stick cinnamon
1 T butter
1/4 cup water

Bring everything to a boil and keep it rolling for 45 seconds. Remove from heat. Make this just before serving.

To Assemble:

Place a semolina cake at the base of a shallow soup bowl. Place a meringue disk over the cake and top with the pannacotta. Pour the citrus sauce until it comes up to 1/4 the height of the cake. Serve with slices of orange or grape fruit, mint and a fruit sorbet (optional).

Citrus Pannacotta with Semolina Cake top view

Pears, Pannacotta, Wine and a Giveaway

*This giveaway is now closed. Thanks to everyone who participated in it. The winner is Heather with her tweet about the event! Congrats Heather!! :)*

Lavender Pannacotta with Pears in White Wine Gelee 1

I am overwhelmed by the reception that my Project Food Blog posts have been receiving. It is at once empowering and humbling; I am so grateful for your warm patronage, compliments and encouraging critique. And, to show my appreciation, I am hosting a giveaway sponsored by CSN stores, who, as you know, are purveyours of everything from dining tables to shoes to cookware. Details of the giveaway are the end of this recipe post.

I also offer you this beautiful dessert, a Lavender Pannacotta with Pears in White Wine Gelee. Desserts are perhaps the easiest to conjure up when faced with a cornucopia of fruits. Over the last few posts, I have shared some savory applications of Fall fruits and after making this and this I don't feel so guilty about moving onto the comfortably welcoming land of sweets.. :)


Pannacotta has always held a charm for me. It's elegance belies the ease and simplicity of making it.Marrying the aromatic pannacotta with the drunken fruit and alcoholic gelee was a match blessed in culinary heaven. The fruity yet acerbic wine gelee needs a balance and the pannacotta seemed the way to go. It's creaminess smooths the sharpness of the jelly and the hint of lavender rounds it all up nicely.

I am really starting to like lavender a lot. Sometime back Mr. FSK had paired it very successfully with a beautiful dorade (sea bream) and this pannacotta proved the versatile flower/herb's worth even more. The only thing to be aware of is, in my dear friend Trissa's words "If you use too much of lavender, it tastes like soap!!" LOL

Nevertheless, this is a lovely dessert that comes together effortlessly delivering a seamless harmony of flavors that burst in your mouth, igniting ever taste bud before silkily sliding down your throat! :)

Lavender Pannacotta with Pears in Wine Gelee 2

Now for the giveway. I am giving away a $45 CSN stores gift card (valid at any of their online stores to one lucky reader. The giveaway is open to US and Canadian* residents. All you have to do for a chance to win -
  1. Leave a comment on this post (with your mail address) by 11:59 pm on Oct 20, 2010, telling me what you would like to purchase from CSN.
  2. For an additional chance, tweet this giveaway, including my twitter handle - @ashafsk, and come back and leave me a seperate comment.
* There may be international shipping charges in the case of Canadian addresses (CSN only ships to the US and Canada).

Lavender Pannacotta with Pears in White Wine Gelee
(serves 4)

Lavender pannacotta

1/2 tsp dried lavender
1 cup light cream
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp unflavored gelatin

Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold milk and let it sit for a few minutes to allow the gelatin to bloom. Meanwhile, heat the cream with the lavender and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for a minute. Remove from heat and let it steep for a couple of minutes. Strain the lavender out and whisk the cold milk and gelatin into the hot cream.

Make sure the gelatin dissolves completely else there may be setting issues. Divide the mixture into 4 dessert bowls and refrigerate for atleast 2 hours before proceeding to the next step.

Pears in White Wine Gelee

2 Pears sliced thin horizontally, using mandolin or by hand
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup water
1 T sugar
3/4 tsp gelatin

Bloom the gelatin in cold white wine. Bring the water and sugar to a boil and mix with the wine-gelatin mixture. Refrigerate the mixture for about 15 minutes to cool it but before it starts to set. If you are too late just zap it in microwave for 30 seconds and cool it down again.

When the pannacotta has set, arrange the pears over it and pour the cooled wine mixture to just cover the pears. Refrigerate for atleast 3 hours to let the whole dessert set.

Share your creations tagging @ashafsk on Instagram and hashtag #MadeFromFSK