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no bake

“I am starting to think that maybe memories are like this dessert. I eat it, and it becomes a part of me, whether I remember it later or not.”
Erica Bauermeister

Espresso Panna CottaEspresso Panna Cotta … this is what sweet dreams are made up of, and made up of everything I absolutely LOVE. Love a good panna cotta, love coffee and of course expresso. Did a fingerlicking spoon licking good buttermilk panna cotta for Fit Foodie recently, and then remembered this deliciousness which was lurking in my drafts. Time it saw light of day

Espresso Panna Cotta Did I say some time back that we had barely seen desserts or bakes of late? Well seem to be making up for the ‘unsweet’ patch, as far as blogging goes at least. This panna cotta was actually inspired by super talented Bart posting some espresso meringues with a chocolate sauce on a food photography FB group. Then along came my sweet friend Gloria’s Affagato which made my heart skip another beat! ’twas time for espresso…

Espresso Panna Cotta… and the next best thing was an Espresso Panna Cotta. Smooth, silky, seductive with coffee written all over it, how can dessert be so indulgent. My Indian coffee or Bru Panna Cotta is an all time favourite, yet the Espresso Panna Cotta now threatens to knock that off the perch. I love doing panna cottas, and have done loads from buttermilk, to saffron, to mango… and more. ‘Making‘ seems a lame term for a dessert so simple which comes together in a matter of minutes. Then it’s all down to a good chill!

Espresso Panna Cotta

[print_this]Recipe: Espresso Panna Cotta
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Summary: Espresso Panna Cotta. Smooth, silky, seductive with coffee written all over it, how can dessert be so indulgent. A topping of a ganache like dark chocolate adds oomph to it!

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time:20 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 600ml low fat cream
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 2-3 tsp espresso powder
  • 120ml milk, luke warm
  • 2 tsp gelatin powder
  • Dark chocolate topping
  • 70g dark chocolate
  • 70g low fat cream

Method:

  1. Sprinkle gelatin over luke warm milk and let stand for five minutes.
  2. Place the cream, espresso and sugar in a heavy bottom pan and gently bring to a simmer, but not a full boil. Stir often.
  3. Take off heat. Add 1-2 tbsp of this hot cream to the dissolved gelatin to loosen it further, and then pour the gelatin mix back into the hot cream through a sieve. Stir well.
  4. Let the mixture stand for about 10 minutes, then distribute among your serving bowls/molds/ramekins/goblets.
  5. Allow to set for 6-8 hours/preferably overnight. 
  6. Gently heat the chocolate and cream in a heat proof bowl in the microwave {or double boiler}. Cool to room temperature, then pour over the set espresso panna cotta.

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“Chemically speaking, chocolate really is the world’s perfect food.”
Michael Levine

Dark Chocolate & Kumquat Creme Pots Dark Chocolate & Kumquat Creme Pots … these were decadent. Delicious, bowl scraping good and soul satisfying. The season and the colours of the humble little kumquat, a sour citrus fruit that was until a few years ago just an ornamental plant, all inspire creativity. This dessert was the result of one such inspired moment!

Dark Chocolate & Kumquat Creme Pots We always referred to kumquats as Chinese oranges or tangerines. Food blogging threw up new names. So many references to a similar fruit by the name of kumquat, and then the Google Gods demystified it. These are round kumquats, the Asian cousins of the elliptical round ones that colour the web every now and then.Dark Chocolate & Kumquat Creme Pots The boughs are hanging heavy with fruit, ready for picking, and more buds and green kumquats are already showing up. My mothers shrub too is full with fruit too. This seems to be a good year for this tart citrus fruit.

Dark Chocolate & Kumquat Creme Pots I’ve done lots with these beauties this season … Kumquat & Strawberry Tiramisu Charlotte, Kumquat Marmalade, and No Bake Cheesecake Pots. My mind works overtime thinking of how much more we can do with kumquats.

Dark Chocolate & Kumquat Creme Pots I had serious dark chocolate and orange cravings one day. Two years ago I had  made Dark chocolate & sour orange tartlets. My blog was hacked shortly after that and some posts disappeared. I didn’t have the time to check then. Recently when I looked for the tartlets high and low, I drew a blank on PAB.

Dark Chocolate & Sour Orange TartletsThe pictures are still firmly etched in my head. Googling led me to FoodGawker and I was relieved to see I had indeed made the tartlets, only that the recipe post has been lost forever. I have attempted to recreate it. I remember cooking the whole fruit then.Dark Chocolate & Kumquat Creme Pots If I wasn’t inspired enough by the fruit of the season, I was even more fortunate that day. Look at these beautiful little ceramic cups and single serve creamers that I got from Urban DazzleAdorable!!  Love at first sight, it brought out the inner child in me. Took me back to when we were little girls, playing with miniature tea sets.  How could I not be inspired?

Urban Dazzle CeramicsThere’s something about white ceramic bakeware. It holds so much promise. These little round ramekins are one of the best additions to my bursting bakeware collection. There is so much you can do in them … cream caramels, panna cotta, ice cream in summer, chocolate custard pots, lime possets. Do you have any more ideas dear readers? What would you make in these little beauties?

Dark Chocolate & Kumquat Creme Pots One look at them as I unpacked them, smooth ceramic, neat, clean edges, aesthetically designed and my imagination took wing. There was no time to bake so I took the fast track to dessert. A winning combination of sour orange and dark chocolate, topped with a light white chocolate cream sauce. We were back in business! Dark Chocolate & Kumquat Creme Pots Dark chocolate from Thorntons married a bittersweet sour orange puree to make thick custard like pastry cream. A light cream chocolate sauce made with melt in the mouth white chocolate made it sublime. Dark Chocolate & Kumquat Creme Pots Candied kumquats tied the flavours together with some white chocolate garnishing. All we heard after dinner was ‘scrape, scrape, scrape’.

Dark Chocolate & Kumquat Creme Pots You cannot go wrong with good quality chocolate. The pots were bowl licking good as might be the case with the kids. They too fell in love with the little ‘baby’ creamers, so charming and so unreal in this world which is in so much of a hurry sometimes. It was wonderful to sit back and enjoy the petite servings.

Kumquat LiqueurIn the days to come I will try and find more ways to use the bounty of nature, i.e. kumquats in full strength. Bitter Kumquat Marmalade has been made; distributed too! I bottled some Kumquat Liqueur a few days ago in a decanter my Mum gave me. The colours are so pretty!

Dark Chocolate & Kumquat Creme Pots A few thoughts before I take you to the recipe. Do use good quality chocolate as that is what makes simple desserts like these absolutely shine! Also, if you prefer a smoother texture, you can always skip the almond meal. I just like to add ‘nuts’ in any form to my food.

Dark Chocolate & Kumquat Creme Pots

This post is brought to you in conjunction with Thorntons.

[print_this]Recipe: Dark Chocolate & Kumquat Creme Pots your picture

Summary: Delicious, bowl scraping good and soul satisfying, these no bake Dark Chocolate & Kumquat Creme Pots are inspired by fruit in season. The very tart and colourful kumquats lend deep ‘orangey’ flavour to the dark chocolate, and colour to the presentation.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Ingredients:

  • Kumquat Puree {Your require a few tbsps. Store the ramainder in a jar in the fridge}
  • 250g kumquats, halved, seeds removed
  • 250g sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • Creme Pots
  • 100g kumquat puree {recipe follows}
  • 250g dark chocolate
  • 25g raw sugar {or regular}
  • 20g cornflour
  • 200ml low fat cream
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 100ml milk 2%
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 25g almond meal
  • White chocolate cream
  • 100ml low fat cream
  • 25g white chocolate, grated
  • 25g white chocolate for garnishing if desired
  • Candied Kumquats
  • 100g kumquats, sliced, seeds removed
  • 200g sugar
  • 200ml water

Method:

  1. Candied Kumquats
  2. Place sugar, water and sliced kumqauts in a saucepan. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes until the kumquats become translucent  Handle gently and strain the kumquats and reserve in a bowl.
  3. Return the syrup to the pan and reduce to about 2/3rd amount. Return the sliced candied kumquats to the syrup, cool and refrigerate until required.
  4. Kumquat puree
  5. Thermomix:
  6. Place all ingredients in bowl of TM, cook on 100, reverse speed 2 for 8 minutes. Blend until smooth.
  7. Stove Top:
  8. Place kumquats, sugar and vanilla bean in a saucepan. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until the kumquat peel is soft. Remove bean {or leave in as I did}. Puree until smooth.
  9. Place 100g kumquat puree with the dark chooclate and melt over a bain marie, or in the microwave.
  10. White chocolate cream
  11. Gently heat the cream, and pour over the white chocolate. Mix until smooth. Cool.
  12. For the pastry cream:
  13. Thermomix:
  14. Place 100g kumquat puree with the dark chocolate in TM bowl and run at speed 4, 10 seconds.
  15. Place remaining ingredients except almond meal. Cook at 90C, speed 4, 7 minutes. Add the almond meal and run at speed 6 for 30 seconds.
  16. Stove Top:
  17. Mix together the sugar, cornflour, cream and vanilla extract in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. To this add the egg yolks and whisk until smooth.
  18. Now place the saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring constantly to prevent the mixture from curdling.
    Add the milk a little at a time, still stirring constantly. After about 10-12 minutes the mixture will be thick, free of lumps and beginning to bubble. {If you have a few lumps, don’t worry. You can push the cream through a fine-mesh strainer}
  19. Fold in the dark chocolate-kumquat puree, and then uniformly stir in the almond meal.
  20. Transfer the cream to serving bowls immediately, tap gently to level out, and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate at least 2-3 hours before serving.
  21. Assemble
  22. Top each bowl with 1-2 tbsp of white chocolate cream, some candied kumquats and white chocolate scrolls. Serve immediately or chill until required.

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“I got the blues thinking of the future, so I left off and made some marmalade. It’s amazing how it cheers one up to shred oranges and scrub the floor.”
D.H. Lawrence

Kumquat MarmaladeIt’s a happy feeling just looking at a jar of homemade Kumquat Marmalade, characteristically bitter-sweet and delicious. Life continues to race, the days forever busy. A feeling of strange uncertainty takes over at times, like I’ve forgotten something, maybe missed a deadline.  It’s not the ‘end of the year‘ panicky feeling, or the ‘before exam restlessness‘. Then again, maybe like marmalade, life is bitter-sweet too!

Kumquat Marmalade I like to enjoy what I do, relax and vegetate sometimes, yet the modern day rat race of sorts is woven into every second that ticks by. Can’t figure out what happened to those laid back times of yesteryear.

KumquatsThen in this feeling of being on a roller coaster comes a small break … jam making. Thankfully it’s a process that you so totally get immersed in, that the unsettled feeling is forgotten. The marmalade kept me on my toes, more so because junior decided to get involved.

KumquatsRight from plucking the fruit off the tree, to shooting fruit in baskets, to grabbing some away from the dog, stirring, bottling … he was there all the way! {Little Coco had her eyes peeled through-out}CocoI have been fascinated by the fruit since I was young. No one ever ate them, too tart of course, but they were so pretty! And the colours? Inspirational! Then a few years ago, a lady in the neighbourhood let us into her guarded little secret of making bitter marmalade with these. You will not imagine how many kilos of sugar disappeared into jars of jam once we were ‘fruitily enlightened‘!Kumquat Marmalade Every one we knew and their cousins were gifted bitter marmalade with glee. The hard work of snipping peels and stirring the jam until translucent well worth the look of amazement on the happy recipients faces. For the past 3 years this is all I do come winter, and everyone in the neighbourhood knows where to send their fruit.

KumquatsCall it the strangeness of nature, but the much in demand lime tree just doesn’t seem to bear fruit like the kumquat tree. Kumquats finds little use among common growers and are not commercially sold in India. Yet, almost every household in North India proudly sports a kumquat tree, also called ornamental orange. The fruit fall and rot once ripe as even birds don’t feed on them, they are so tart!!

The round kumquat also called Marumi kumquat or Morgani kumquat, is an evergreen tree, producing edible golden-yellow fruit. Kumquat literally means ‘golden orange’. The fruit can be eaten cooked but is mainly used to make marmalades and jellies. It is grown as an ornamental plant and can be used in bonsai. The plant symbolizes good luck in China and other Asian countries.

Kumquat Marmalade “So much sugar? More? No Mama, No”! I forgot all my jam making skills, and I have made this jam umpteen times. “Is it done mama, is it done. Shall I stir? What if the bag of seeds opens? I think you haven’t tied it properly?” I could have tied up the thirteen year old, I was so nervous.

Kumquat MarmaladeThen I announced it was ‘plate test time’. “What’s that? Ooh can I do it? I think it’s setting. Ya. No. Noooooooooooo … cook some more Mama. OK, let me stir. Shall we cook more?” . I finally regained control of my bitter kumquat marmalade finally telling him I thought it was done {though I think I cooked it a little longer than I should have!}

Kumquat Marmalade It’s strange how when kids are part of a process, they love the food even more. It’s been marmalade and toast for the past few days no matter what. Double fried eggs, cereal … and then the call, “Mama, if it’s not too much trouble, can I have toast with marmalade please?” Did I tell you he was charming? Gosh, all the way!

A word of thanks –  Thank you Ziet Online for featuring me in Sunday Dinners.

[print_this]Recipe: Kumquat Marmalade
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Summary: Bitter kumquat marmalade is one of the best ways to use up this tart fruit. Makes a for a great gift, and is also a wonderful addition to cake batters, frosting, pies etc. Makes about 6 jars.

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 1kg kumquats 
  • 1kg sugar 
  • 250ml water

Method:

  1. Sterilize 4-5 jam jars. Place a metal spoon in each jar {this ensures that the glass jar will not crack when the hot jam is poured in}.
  2. Place the sieving bowl over a bigger bowl, and squeeze the seeds to deseed the fruit. We need to collect the seeds as they contain the pectin to set the jam. Make a bouquet garnet of the seeds.
  3. Snip the peels with scissors into strips.
  4. Place the strips, with the pouch of seeds, in a heavy bottom pan on full heat. Boil for a few minutes till the peel is tender, stirring constantly.
  5. Add the water and continue to cook on high for 2-3 minutes. Now add sugar, stirring constantly.
  6. Continue to cook over high heat for a further 10-15 minutes until the mixture thickens & the strips becomes translucent.
  7. Do a plate test by dropping some marmalade on a cold metal plate to check if the jam is setting properly. After 30 seconds, it should congeal and look jellylike.
  8. Put off the flame, discard the muslin pouch with the seeds and allow the jam to cool for 10-15 minutes. Stir to distribute the strips.
  9. Now pour the marmalade into the jars, and seal after 10-15 minutes.
  10. {I refrigerate my jars}
  11. Thermomix method:
  12. Place the peels in the TM bowl and slice at speed 10 for 2-3 seconds. Add the reserved juice to the TM bowl, with 250g water, and run on Reverse at 100 for 10 minutes, speed slow.
  13. Add 800g sugar and the bouquet garni {which holds the seeds}, and run at reverse at speed 2 for 2 minutes. Add a further 450g sugar {small kumquats tend to be very bitter}, and continue to cook at reverse speed 2 for a further 8 minutes.
  14. Now turn power to 100C, place the lid at an angle, and cook until the gelling action kicks in and the jam begins to set. {Do a stainless steel plate test. Drop some marmalade on a cold plate to see if it sets in under a minute}. Mine took about 7-8 minutes.
  15. Put off the TM, discard the muslin pouch with the seeds & allow to stand in TM jar for about 15-20 minutes, and then pour into prepared jars. I refrigerate my marmalade.

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