The last half of February got a bit hectic both at work and home so I’m only now finding some time to post this month’s Daring Bakers’ challenge; a dreamy, creamy panna cotta and crunchy florentine cookies. This challenge was hosted by Mallory from A Sofa In The Kitchen. Thanks!
Fortunately I’d made panna cotta before so this half of the challenge didn’t freak me out so much (see my Gingerbread Panna Cotta :D) but I did want to make one that was a bit more interesting. As for florentines, they’re something you often see sitting in giant glass jars at cafes but dare not actually order for fear of sending your blood sugar level sky-high with just one bite. Of the floretines I’ve seen in Australia anyway, they tend to be made with corn flakes (which I like), glace cherries and dried fruit. The chocolate on top of all that just seems a bit much. Perhaps this challenge could see me make florentines of more moderate sweetness?
For the challenge I did up a simple coconut panna cotta which only required me to adjust the basic recipe slightly (1/4 milk and the rest of amount coconut milk). If I had more time I would have experimented with coconut powder to get a stronger flavour. Still, the panna cotta turned out nicely with a good coconut taste. For an accompanying gelee, I drew a blank until I discovered a can of lychees to play with. I placed a few pieces of lychee into a mould and made up a harder jelly/gelee with the remaining juice. The result was a little unstable (getting them out of the mould was a challenge in itself!) but I enjoyed the resulting flavour combination of the lychee and coconut panna cotta. Again, if I had more time I would have perfected the lychee jelly but given how pleasant the outcome was, I will no doubt try again for a dinner party dessert :)
The florentine making was fairly straightforward but I was grateful for the opportunity to actually make my own and to have a go at tempering chocolate with my Thermomix. Wow… What a breeze! I don’t think I can go back to the guesswork of doing it otherwise. I actually do like the use of corn flakes in florentines so I’m sorry to say that I deviated somewhat from the challenge recipe and added a half-and-half of oats and corn flakes to the mix. I also added some toasted coconut and home-dried mangoes to add to the tropical theme of my panna cotta. I am happy to report that the florentines were enjoyed by all those who sampled them, including Master Seven who is usually a bit reserved when something involves dark chocolate. Thanks again for the challenge Mallory. I know I’ll be making florentines again and who can resist a panna cotta?