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All Dressed Up…

…as Lemongrass Panna Cotta on a Blood Orange Meringue Disk with Banana Fritters and Blood Orange Mousse…and no where to go…

It was really bad not having a voice. Never take anything for granted, never…So, big deal you might say, 'at least you were not coughing, you didn’t have a fever,…you were fine otherwise'. Yes! And that was the problem. I tried to go shopping and had to write everything down in my little blue notebook for the deli guy. At the cash register I pointed at my throat and mouthed a "hello, how are you?" just to hear the girl say "excuse me, what did you say? what is wrong with your voice?"…..ahhhh pleeeaaase!! Having to stare at the caller i.d while fighting the urge to pick up when friends would call. Relying on text messaging and emails (I type faster than I can text. message so I had to drop the former) to communicate with the world. It was all a little too uncomfortable…even if I tend to be the quiet one.

The connection with this dessert?

Since I had to be on complete voice rest for 3 days, I figured the easiest way to do this was to stay put, away from talking temptations. I spent more time at home enjoying the pier, walking the dog on the beach, baking and doing some craft projects.
I found myself being inspired by this book and got started on simple Panna Cottas and this is where the rest took place: I am not trying to get all fancy on you but I had time on my hands to bake and guild the lillies and so I did more than just Panna Cottas and I still have 4 of them in the fridge and still no where special to go.

Lemongrass Panna Cottas, inspired by Richard Leach:

Serves 4-6 depending on your mold size

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup milk

1/4 cup sugar

3 stalks lemongrass, chopped

zest of 1 lemon

3 tsp. powdered gelatin

Soften the gelatin, by sprinkling it over 1/3 cup water. In a heavy saucepan, heat the cream and milk with the lsugar and lemongrass until almost to boiling point. Remove from heat, let cool 2-3 minutes. Add the gelatin and stir until dissolved. Add the lemon zest. Pour the cream into ramequins, molds or glasses and refrigerate until set (4-6 hours)

Blood Orange Meringue Disks (adapted over time from amny different recipes)

Makes about 30

3 egg whites

200 gr. powdered sugar

125 gr. ground almonds

30 gr. granulated sugar

zest of 3 blood oranges

red food coloring

Mix the powdered sugar, ground almonds and orange zest together. Set aside. Whip the whites to a light foam, incorporate the granulated sugar one TB. at a time until you get stiff, glossy egg whites (not dry)

With a spatula, incorporate the almond/sugar with the egg whites, taking care not to break and deflate the whites too much. Add a few drop of red coloring to intensify the color.

Banana Fritters, adapted from Richard Leach:

1/2 cup + 2 Tb flour

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 cup cold water

2 bananas, peeled and cut into 1-inch lengths

1 cup Panko breadcrumbs

vegetable oil for frying

Heat oil to 350.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder ad water in a bowl until smooth. Dip bananas in fritter batter. Roll in breadcrumbs. Deep fry until golden brown.

Blood Orange Mousse, adapted from different recipes

Prepare a blood orange curd:

grated zest of one blood orange

1/2 cup strained blood orange juice

1/4 cupsugar

1 egg

1 cup heavy cream

2 Tb. powdered sugar

Combine zest, juice and sugar in a small saucepan on the stove and bring to a simmer. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg until light. Beat some of the hot blood orange mixture into the egg. Scrape the egg mixture back into the saucepan. Cook, stirrring constantly and reaching all over the bottom and sides of the saucepan. Continue to cook and stir for 15 seconds. Pour through a strainer set over a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to prevent forming a skin, allow to cool before use.

Whip the heavy cream to stiff peak with the powdered sugar. Gently fold the cream into the blood orange curd with a spatula.

To assemble:

Unmold a panna cotta, set it on a meringue disk, position 3 banana fritters on the side and pipe the blood orange mousse in the middle of the fritters. Decorate with sugar decorations if desired (see here)

The weather has been so nice and warm (upper 70s) that this was a great dessert to share with a loved one. The flavors really went well together and the fritters are so light, makes you want to go for seconds…or thirds!

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MyKitchenInHalfCups February 28, 2007 um 2:18 am

We never appreciate the most basic things until we must go without something. We always take things for granted. But, with time on my hands like you had, I couldn’t do the magic you did.
You are awesome!!

Anonymous February 28, 2007 um 3:19 am

What a lovely looking dessert! Fancy schmancy!

Brilynn February 28, 2007 um 4:21 am

Wow! That looks amazing!

I know the frustration of not being able to do simple things like talk… in my case I’ve spent a lot of time not being able to walk, stupid broken bones.

Anonymous February 28, 2007 um 4:52 am

Lovely Helen. This time off does you good! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Peabody February 28, 2007 um 9:03 am

It looks lovely but I could not eat it…I have an extreme adverson to lemongrass.

Cheryl February 28, 2007 um 3:05 pm

Just gorgeous. Banana fritters sound so bad for you, yet oh so good.

Anonymous February 28, 2007 um 7:22 pm

Je vais essayer cette panacotta en utilisant l’agar-agar.
Le tout forme un ensemble sublime, quel gout !

jasmine March 1, 2007 um 3:53 am

Holy Moly!

This looks fabulous…I totally sympathise with the vocal rest…been there…


Barbara March 1, 2007 um 8:22 am

I’ll have Peabody’s share.

Veron March 1, 2007 um 10:50 am

Helene, you still have no voice ?! Poor girl. That is a lovely dessert you have though. I love panna cotta, in fact i chose it over creme brulee during our dinner last night. You need to teach me all those sugary art that you do…can you come and visit richmond,va please!

Gattina Cheung March 1, 2007 um 11:17 am

Helene, I love every thing here! The blood orange meringue disk looks and sounds wonderful!

Jeanna March 1, 2007 um 11:30 am

You’ve outdone yourself.

Anonymous March 1, 2007 um 1:17 pm

Oh my GOD! Helen, can you please move into my place? I won’t ask for rent or bond, all I ask is that you take me on as an apprentice so I can make these sorts of amazing treats!

Parisbreakfasts March 1, 2007 um 9:04 pm

Very beautiful..
You’ll always have a voice here…

Susan from Food Blogga March 2, 2007 um 3:30 am

One thing I won’t take for granted is your consistently amazing creations!

Vocal resting can be a drag. Hope you’re back to 100% soon. ๐Ÿ™‚

Lis March 2, 2007 um 9:43 pm

Okay I’m catching up on my most favoritest blogs today (finally!) so I’m sure all the lovely flan is gone.. but you must LISTEN TO ME.. if this EVER happens again.. SEND TO ME.. I’ll pay for postage even! hehehee

Well by now you’ve gotten a lil of your voice back and I’m glad you are feeling better – especially now that you have that sexy raspy voice.. ohhhh la la =)


Lis March 2, 2007 um 9:45 pm

flan? who said anything about flan?? Panna Cotta! Lovely panna cotta.

Imma dork. *cheezy grin*


Helene March 2, 2007 um 10:37 pm

Lis: given the week you have just had, you are forgiven!

monica March 3, 2007 um 4:05 pm

gorgeous! i love richard leach…my pastry chef had worked for him for years before going off on her own, so i see many of his techniques in her style.

thanks for keeping up with my blog! i am an avid reader of yours, too. love making marshmallows and experiementing with different flavor combinations. just like to test the limit to see what i can accomplish…..happy baking!

Jann March 3, 2007 um 9:59 pm

Wow-how could anyone eat this beautiful creation-to lovely to destroy-you did such a superb job-bravo!

Connie March 3, 2007 um 9:59 pm

this is truly amazing! sometimes you just have to go crazy and make something stunning. i hope it worked out the frusteration of not being able to talk. hope you feel better soon!

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