Lime Basil Panna Cotta

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I was in the mood for making a dessert on a random evening last month. But I wanted to make something I had never made before. I had a bazillion desserts running through my mind but the evening was short and I had to figure out what to make. As I sat down trying to ease up my dilemma, I suddenly recalled this Mango & Coconut Panna Cotta that I had ordered at a restaurant couple years ago. However, I acutely remember the flavors of the dessert weren’t pungent enough and I didn’t enjoy it much. Point being, I came to a conclusion of making a panna cotta, but a different flavored one. I desired something refreshing and so lime was the way to go. For a while, I had been wanting to make a lime and rosemary flavored dessert. So I thought of making a lime and rosemary panna cotta.

As soon as I made up my mind, my sister Shivani, came frenziedly hopping into my room asking me what I was going to make. When I told her, she firmly disapproved of my idea of flavors. She suggested I make a lime and basil panna cotta instead of lime and rosemary. For once, I became partially reluctant and serenely agreed with her idea.

Lime & Basil Panna Cotta
adapted from my sister and myself

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1 pint – heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup – caster sugar
juice and zest of 2 limes
1 handful – fresh basil leaves, torn
2 1/4 tsp – powdered gelatin
2 tbsp – cold water
Strawberry coulis to serve (recipe follows)

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1) Place the sugar, lime juice, lime zest and torn basil leaves in a saucepan.

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2) Rub it together using the back of a spoon so that the sugar gets infused with the lime and basil flavors.
3) Then add in the cream and mix. Let it sit for 20 minutes.
4) Meanwhile, soak the gelatin in the water for 10 minutes.
5) Heat the cream mixture on medium heat until bubbles appear around the edge. Do not bring to a boil.
6) Turn off the heat and add in the soaked gelatin. Stir until the gelatin dissolves.
7) Strain the mixture and pour it into 4 lightly greased custard cups.
8) Let them cool to room temperature and then set the cups in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or until completely set.
9) To serve, run a sharp knife around the edge of each panna cotta and unmould onto a serving plate. Garnish and serve.

Strawberry Coulis
adapted from Laura Vitale

1 cup – frozen but thawed strawberries
1 tbsp – sugar (more or less depending on your taste)
1 tsp – fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp – cornstarch mixed with 1 tbsp water

1) Place the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice in a blender and puree it. Strain it through a fine sieve and place the puree in a small saucepan.
2) Bring the puree to a simmer and add the cornstarch mixture and cook stirring constantly until the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat and pour it in a small container and let it cool completely.

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