It’s the peak of the Fall season, and the nights are getting chilly often cold and rainy depending on where you live. Festivals abound all across the globe this time of the year. Every festival needs a sweet note to celebrate the happiness, fun and magnanimity typically associated with festivals. Diwali the festival of lights celebrated widely across the globe primarily in India, Nepal, Singapore, Sri Lanka,Malaysia, Mauritius ,Caribbean and Fiji ,is among the highlights of this season. On the occasion of Diwali, inspired by the extensive use of rose in desserts in India I present to you my retake on the classic Italian dessert , panacotta which is Italian for cooked cream. Majority desserts consumed during the occasion of Diwali are quite rich hence a panacotta provides a lighter option (this version uses a bit less cream and more milk than classic panacotta) while preserving the essence of Indian cooking.
The highlight of this dish however is the rose syrup which is not store bought but rather home made. Yes, of course you could get a store bought rose syrup however they are usually excessively sweet due to fructose and lack any kind of subtlety which highlights the fragrance of rose. A little effort can go a long way,and it can easily be preserved for latter use in pancakes,milk shakes, ice creams and as a useful condiment wherever you are looking for a fragrant kick !
The Rose Syrup
- 4 red roses
- 2 cups castor sugar
- 4 cups water
- 2 drops of rosewater(optional)
- Separate the roses from the stem and nip the base of the rose so that the petals seperate. Wash the petals in cold running water.
- Add the roses to the water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. The water should turn pinkish red.Reduce to heat to a gentle boil and continue boiling the petals on a medium heat till the water is reduced by half.
- Using a strainer, strain the petals from the water and return in back to the heat. Now add the 2 cups of castor sugar and the drops of rosewater and boil till a thick syrupy liquid is formed as shown below. The rosewater is optional but enhances the aroma.
For the Panacotta
- 100 ml milk
- 350 ml fresh cream
- 1.5 leaves of gelatin soaked in water
- 1 shot of a neutral non flavored white rum
- 2 drops of rosewater
- 1.5 cups caster sugar
- 6 almonds sliced, skin on
- Add the milk, cream , sugar and rose water in a small pan and slowly simmer while continuously whisking the mixture. Add the rum and keep simmering the mixture for about 10 minutes till it reduces by a third.
- Remove the mixture from the heat. Squeeze out the gelatin leaves and add them to the cream mixture and give it a nice stir so that it dissolves uniformly. Let the mixture come to room temperature.
- Traditionally panacotta is set in ramekins and allowed to chill, I have used glass bowls as shown in the picture. Once the cream mixture is at room temperature pour them in glass bowls allowing them to chill anywhere between 4 hours to overnight. The panacotta should be nice and smooth when you serve.
- Toast the sliced almonds. Drizzle the rose syrup over the panacotta and garnish with toasted almonds. The panacotta can be served in the glass bowl or turned upside down as shown in the picture.