Today’s Lego Challenge from Gather Love Grow was to make something symmetrical. I was able to explain symmetry to the 11, 8, and 6 year old, however, the 4 year old didn’t quite get it. He made shapes, but they don’t really match each other.
Many thanks to Isabelle at Gather Love Grow for another Lego Challenge. This one was helpful in teaching about symmetry to the younger kids.
In a small bowl, soak the powdered gelatin in about 1/4 cup of the heavy cream. Let it sit while you bring the rest of the heavy cream and the vanilla sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
Remove the pan from the heat, scrape the gelatin and cream mixture into the pan with the hot cream, and whisk until the gelatin has dissolved.
Strain the panna cotta into a serving dish and chill until set, about 3 hours.
Passion Fruit Caramel
Cook the 1/4 cup of vanilla sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar melts and turns a medium amber color.
Reduce the heat to low and carefully stir in the passion fruit juice. Stir in the water.
Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes,then strain into a heatproof bowl. Let the caramel cool completely. Drizzle over the panna cotta right before serving.
I have seen gelatin sheets in the Asian market but I have not seen them in a grocery store like Albertsons. Or maybe I haven’t looked hard enough. The original recipe calls for gelatin sheets, but I improvised and weighed out my gelatin powder instead. I ended up with 6 grams instead of 5 like I was supposed to. Oops! I didn’t want to make a mess of trying to to put back 1 gram of gelatin powder so I just went with 6 grams.
Now the gelatin does seem to set after you let it sit in the heavy cream, but once you whisk it into the hot cream mixture in the pan, it dissolves fine and does not clump or give the final product an odd texture.
The original recipe also called for the seeds of one vanilla bean. I love baking with vanilla sugar and always have some on hand. So, instead of using a vanilla bean, I just used my vanilla sugar. If you would like to make your own vanilla sugar, here is a link to the method for that. You won’t regret it! If you do not have vanilla sugar on hand, then scrape the seeds of one vanilla bean into the cream mixture and then put the vanilla bean in there too!
One note, I am not sure how vanilla extract would work in this recipe. It’s possible that vanilla extract would not provide a strong enough flavor. I would be willing to give it a try though with my next custard recipe.
Once I had the panna cotta in the fridge, it was time to make the caramel. This is the part that I was very, very scared to do! I have never made caramel before and was afraid I would waste my hard-earned passion fruit juice.
1/4 cup of vanilla sugar does not look like very much when it is in the pan!
Now, the caramel LOOKED like the right color, but it didn’t seem like it was the right texture. I thought it would be a little more “syrupy.” It ended up being okay though and tasted tart from the passion fruit.
We were bad and did not share this with the kids. The kids got mini cupcakes for dessert, while Josh and I ate this after they went to bed. This is definitely a perfect date night at home dessert. It was a little complicated for me since I had never made it before, but next time, I should know better what I am doing. Josh wants me to make a lemon one next!