Would you look at that, 2017 is almost over, and I can’t even remember what my New Year goals were! Which is too bad because now I’ll never know if I’ve achieved them or not. How convenient is that? Before I make another set, I plan to fully make the most of my favourite time of the year. Wait, my other favourite time besides this one. I know, I know, turning Christmas and winter, in general, into a billion-dollar industry deserves to be frowned upon but how amazing is this flamingo onesie? I like this time of the year because I can unabashedly turn up the cozy — an urge I rein in the rest of the year. I’ll admit, I do rely inordinately on Frank Sinatra and fairy lights to feel like I'm living inside a Christmas special, but my strong soup game helps, too.
I also look forward to this time of year for the new cookbooks that make their debut on the food scene. This year has seen an especially good crop of books — Nigella Lawson, Nigel Slater and Ottolenghi — three of my favourite authors, all have new cookbooks out. The first one out was Sweet, Ottolenghi’s dessert book, very much in the traditional Ottolenghi-style, with Middle Eastern and Asian-inspired numbers.There are quite a few that look interesting, including a tahini-heavy Millionaire’s Shortbread that has sent the internet into a tizzy, but it’s the possets that had me excited.
Ottolenghi’s version uses kaffir lime leaves, and is topped with papaya. Fresh kaffir leaves aren’t readily available in India as far as I know, and definitely not in the shops i frequent, and so, mum and I spent many a FaceTime session debating other possibilities. I was keen to feature starfruit, but since that suggestion was met with a fair amount of resistance, we finally settled on a lemongrass posset with a passion fruit jelly. Although it’s a cream-based dessert, the flavours are so bright and floral that the cream really provides texture more than anything else. I recently read somewhere that because passionfruit is so intense, you taste all of it all at once. The jelly provides a slower flavour release, something that helps when paired with a more delicate ingredient like lemongrass.
If you’re not a fruit hoarder like my mother, and don’t have frozen passion fruit pulp on hand, top with fresh fruit. Persimmon, which is in season right now, grilled, is a good option.
Lemongrass Possets with Passion Fruit Jelly
Adapted from Sweet
(Makes 5 servings)
For the posset
400 ml double cream
2 stalk of lemongrass, lightly crushed with a mallet to release their flavour
1/4 + 1 tbsp cup sugar
2 tsp lime juice
Zest of half a lime
A pinch of salt
For the passion fruit jelly
1/2 cup Passion fruit pulp
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp sugar, or to taste
2 tsp gelatine + 2 tbsp water
Zest of half a lime, for garnish (optional)
To make the possets
In a saucepan, gently heat the cream with the lemongrass and the lime zest until it starts to simmer. Take off the heat and let it steep for 30 minutes.
Put the cream back on the heat and let it boil for a few minutes, stirring to make sure that it doesn't catch on the bottom of the pan.
Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and add the sugar, salt and lime juice.
Pour into ramekins or serving bowls and refrigerate for a few hours, or overnight.
To make the passion fruit jelly
In a small bowl, add the 2 tbsp of water, and gelatine. Let it sit for a few minutes, until it blooms.
Heat the gelatine mixture over a double boiler (or microwave for a 20 seconds on high), until the gelatine is fully dissolved.
In a saucepan, heat the passion fruit pulp and water till it simmers. Add the sugar and stir until it dissolves. Next, add the gelatine in a thin stream while stirring continuously.
Pour into a 4x4 inch dish and let it set in the fridge.
Once set, cut into 1 inch cubes.
Top each posset with a few cubes of the jelly and lime zest if using.