Panna cotta is an Italian dessert mainly made with cream, egg yolk, honey. When blended together and baked in a bain marie…this cooked cream is what one gets. However, there are alternative recipes suggesting using gelatine to set the panna cotta. What I made today followed the alternative technique of creating the dessert rather than the original way. Here is a different way of presenting our traditional kheer(milk pudding) in a panna cotta way !
1 cup of fresh grated coconut
1 cup of sugar
2 cups of milk
cardamom powder a pinch
Chopped pistachios 1 tbsp and some roughly chopped.
Agar-Agar 1.5 teaspoons
Alternatively you may use condensed milk 1/2 cup. In such a case reduce the quantity of milk and sugar can be done without. Condensed milk adds to the consistency as well as the sweetness to the pudding.
In a thick bottom pan, heat the milk. Add the coconut to the milk. Stir gently. Simmer, stirring occasionally. The milk is reduced by about half. This may take a while. Add the sugar. If you are in a hurry. Just use condensed milk to get the consistency you wish. Mix in the cardamom powder. Add the roughly chopped pistachio. Turn the heat off and set aside.
In a small pan, add agar-agar flakes. Pour in 1/4 cup of cold water. Heat this mix till the agar-agar dissolves in it. Add this to the kheer(pudding) we prepared. Mix well. Pour this mixture in a mould or glasses you wish to set panna cotta in. I divided the mix in 3 wine glasses. Set aside. As it cools, the mix tends to set. If you wish you may place it in the fridge to set quickly. I waited till the kheer had cooled down completely before placing the glasses in the fridge.
In a separate pan prepare a caramel. I used Jamie Oliver’s method of preparing caramel (did not use the salt though). It can be stored in a jar. If you wish you may use a store bought can of caramel. If you are using a store bought caramel use about 4 tablespoons of caramel and soften it in the microwave. If preparing at home, use the same quantity and store the rest in a glass jar. To this add a solution of agar-agar prepared with 1/4 tsp of agar agar flakes.
When the kheer sets in the glass. Divide the caramel mixed with agar-agar and top on the kheer. Set it aside in the fridge.
Now for the praline.
In a pan add 1/2 cup of castor sugar. Heat the pan. The heat will start melting the sugar. Do not stir the sugar until almost all the sugar melts. It should turn into a pale brown colour. Squeeze a teaspoon of lemon juice. One needs to be very quick and careful while working with sugar. It can harden quickly or even burn.Give it a quick stir and add the pistachio powder. Then spoon on a silicon-lined baking sheet or greased plate. Leave to cool for a minute or so and then cut into wedges with a sharp knife.
Place the praline in each of your set kheer glass and sprinkle some more of pistachio. You may even unmould the panna cotta on a plate by turning over from the setting mould and serve. Here is my take on traditional naralachi kheer (coconut kheer) ! 🙂