Recently, I've been drawn to the tropical and exotic flavours of Asia. This may be because the flavours are somewhat new to me and therefore exciting. It may be because during these cold months, I need something to brighten up my days.
Or it may be because I am going to the Philippines in 5 and a half weeks and I can't stop thinking about it!!
The flavours are new to me and I do need something to bring some life into these dreary winter days, but it's mostly the Philippines thing. This trip has been planned for about a year and a half now so I've been looking forward to it for that long. Now that it's into the single-digit-week-countdown, I'm so excited!! I been travelling around Europe and Africa a fair bit, but never made my way to Asia. It's going to be a completely new experience for me!
Oh, and did I mention it is a scuba diving trip? My dad has always been a big scuba diver and I thought it looked like such fun. I went scuba diving for the first time when I was about 11 and I absolutely fell in love with it. That first dive was in the Cayman Islands and only lasted about 30 minutes, but it stuck with me. My dad regularly goes on dive trip to wonderful and exotic places like the Maldives, Belize, Bali, and other places around Indonesia. I've been wanting to go with for ages, but with school and jobs and this and that, it was never in the cards for me.
But for my 21st birthday last year, my dad gave me this trip as my gift! And then for my 22nd birthday, he paid for my scuba diving certification class! As of last week, I am a certified open water scuba diver! I had to do five dives here in Vancouver and I have to say that while it was cool seeing the west coast ocean life, I am soooo looking forward to not being frigidly cold while diving in the Philippines.
The trip is going to be filled with diving and napping and eating. We only have a week and a bit there, so unfortunately we are not going to see any cities or other sites. We're going to pack as much diving into the trip as possible and in between all the dives, there are lovely hammocks in the shade and food to be eaten (but not those duck embryos, thank you) and naps to be had.
Whether or not you are going on a tropical vacation in the near future, these verrines can be almost as good. Just crank up the heat in your place, get a cool drink, and put on your bikini, it'll be just the same....sort of.
Kalamansi, Coconut, and Passion Fruit Verrines
Passion Fruit Gelée
200 g passion fruit purée
8 g gelatin sheets, bloomed
230 g whole milk
230g coconut cream
125 g sugar
300 g coconut anglaise
200 g heavy cream
146 g sugar
133 g eggs
100 g kalamansi purée
200 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
Zest from 3 limes
Passion Fruit seeds
Select 4 to 6 glasses for your verrines and place them in the fridge. I used a silicone demi sphere mold to keep them at an angle, but you can use whatever you have on hand that works.
Prepare the passion fruit gelée. Place the purée in a bowl set over a pot of barely simmering water. Heat the purée to 40 C, then add the bloomed gelatin and stir to dissolve. Remove from heat and transfer to a pitcher. Pour the gelée into your glasses, making sure not to splash any on the sides of the glass. Let it set for 4 hours.
Then, make the coconut anglaise. Combine the milk and coconut cream in a saucepan and bring just to a boil. Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs and the sugar until slightly paler in colour. Temper the egg mixture by pouring a small amount of the hot milk mixture into the eggs, whisking continuously. Add the hot milk mixture bit by bit until you have transferred about 1/3 of the milk into the eggs. Transfer everything back into the saucepan and heat over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens.
Remove from heat and strain into an ice bath. Let the anglaise cool completely, then place in the refrigerator for an hour or overnight.
For the coconut mousse, whip the cream to medium peaks. Add one-third of the cream to the coconut anglaise and fold. Fold in the remaining cream. Immediately transfer to a piping bag and portion into your glasses. Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
For the kalamansi curd, combine the sugar and eggs in a bowl set over a pot of barely simmering water. Add the purée and whisk continuously until the mixture reaches 80 C and has thickened. Strain through a fine mesh sieve. Using an immersion blender, emulsify the curd while adding the butter a few chunks at a time. Once all the butter has been added, transfer to a piping bag and portion into your glasses. Let it set for 4 hours.
For the lime powder, place the zest into a microwaveable container, preferably a flat one so that the zest is spread out. Microwave for 10 second intervals until the zest is dry looking, about 60 seconds. Let it cool, then grind up with a spice grinder to create a powder.
To finish, place a quenelle of chantilly in the center of the glass and sprinkle a line of lime powder across. Spoon a few passion fruit seeds into the glass and place a strip of lime peel on top. Serve immediately.