Dhoni's daredevils in blue, my tricolor tribute to you!!!
Cricket... If there ever is a word that evokes passionate fanaticism unrivaled by any religious fervor in the Indian sub-continent, it is this, it is this, it is this!! Even for those who have crossed over to the other side of the Atlantic & have heartily embraced the NFL, NBA & baseball... every four years, these American sports are pushed to near oblivion the minute the cricket world cup rolls around! In the eyes of most sports loving Indians & Pakistanis, there is cricket... & then the rest of the other.. now what was that game??
Cricket has admirably caught up to the glitz of the NFL superbowl in terms of the advertising & appeal, and whats more, it truly involves teams from ALL over the world. There are official songs, not only from India but also extremely catchy numbers from Sri Lanka and this pepsi ad from Pakistan. Music & a nail biting finish for a final match. What more could one ask for?
If you're as crazy a foodie like me.. a dessert to celebrate India's victory. As someone put up on their FB status...a lad from Chandigarh, a Delhi boy, a captain from Jharkhand, all dedicating their victory to the uncrowned emperor or 'god' of Cricket, Sachin Tendulkar, a Mumbaikar. Wish our politicians could generate such a unified spirit!
Well, this is a pannacotta (my second in as many months, but I figured this was easy enough for everyone to try!) I tried to find inspirations from all parts of India, Alphonso mango from the west, pistachio from the north, cashew & cardamom from the south & a creamy dairy nod to the east in acknowledgment of their supremacy in milk based Indian desserts. Yes, the green is a pastel shade, but it was not worth adding artificial colors (Try to avoid those as much as I can). The blueberries were the only blue fruit I could find here (I'd love to have gotten my paws on some jamun, but that is wishful thinking!
For this tricolor pannacotta you need: (makes the equivalent of a small loaf tin)
6 tablespoon agar flakes
1 cup water
For the Saffron layer: (Thanks to Manisha Pandit of Indian food rocks for the inspirational lead)
1/2 cup alphonso mango pulp
1/4 cup confectioners (icing) sugar
1/4 cup half & half
2-3 pods worth of cardamom crushed
Combine all the ingredients, & whisk together to ensure that the confectioners sugar is evenly distributed & dissolved.
For the white layer:
2 tablespoons broken cashewnuts
1/4 cup condensed milk plus extra milk as needed
Combine the cashewnuts & condensed milk and blend till the cashew forms a smooth paste. Add the paste & sugar along with extra milk & bring to a gentle boil, till the cashew loses its raw aroma and the mixture is thickened slightly. set aside to cool (~ 3/4th cup)
For the green layer: (the kiwi fruit gives this layer just a hint of tartness that distinguishes it from the nutty white layer)
2 tablespoons unsalted, shelled pistachios, soaked in water for 1/2 hr
1 peeled kiwi fruit
1/2 cup half & half
1/4 cup icing sugar.
In a small blender jar, grind together the pistachio, icing sugar & kiwi fruit. Strain to remove the seeds of the fruit, & add the half & half. whisk well to get a pale green color. Set aside.
Line a small loaf pan with cling wrap. Alternatively you may use small individual glass bowls that you can serve the dessert in.
Heat 6 tablespoons of agar flakes in ~ 1 cup water, bring to a boil till the agar completely dissolves. Strain about 1/4th cup into the mango mixture, (return the agar to the burner set on simmer, you do not want it solidifying on you) stir well & pour into the loaf pan (or divide up into the cups). briefly chill the pan in the freezer for 5 min to jump start the setting.
Pour another 1/4 cup of the agar into the cashew mixture, stir well. Remove the loaf tin from the freezer. Using a toothpick, gently stab the surface of the mango this is to ensure that the cashew layer can lock into the saffron colored layer instead of sliding right off! Pour the cashew layer gently over the mango layer. Gently shake the pan to ensure an even distribution. The white layer will have a rough surface due to the grainy cashew which helps in holding on to the final layer of pistachio.
Add 1/4th cup of the remaining agar mixture into the green layer, stir well & gently pour over the layer of cashew. Gently agitate to ensure an even distribution.. Gently fold over the overhanging plastic wrap over the dessert to cover it. Place in the refrigerator to chill and set for ~ 2 hrs.
To serve, un mold by inverting on a plate, cut slices & serve with a warm melted blueberry jam & fresh blueberries.
|That was one delicious yummy breakfast!|