Treat of the Week: Coconut Lime Panna Cotta Tartlettes

If last week's treat was for me, then this one is for you. I feel as though I've neglected you all for the past month so consider this my peace offering. Beyond the fact that it is so darn cute, it is ridiculously tasty. Also, I got to work with key limes which rival kumquats for cutest little fruit on the planet.

Coconut Lime Panna Cotta Tartlettes by Sam Henderson of Today's Nest

Coconut Lime Panna Cotta Tartlettes by Sam Henderson of Today's Nest

The flavors of this treat are obvious enough... he put the lime in the coconut, but what makes it a stand out is the collection of textures. The mascarpone filling is light and creamy, the panna cotta firm and airy at once, and the buttery crust and shredded coconut add even more toothy layers. While there is some setting time involved, the recipe itself is fairly easy to make. It is perfect for a warm summer evening with a glass of wine... or midnight snack after everyone's gone to bed.

savour... peace offerings

Before you start:

This recipe makes 6-8 tartlettes depending on the size of your mini tart pans.

When lining the crusts with parchment, make the pieces slightly bigger than your tartlette pan. Crumble the paper up tightly and then unfold it, flattening it out. This will make it more pliable to fit into the crust and make a well for the pie weights or dry beans.

The ingredients:

For the panna cotta:

  • 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk, well-mixed
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • pinch salt

For the filling:

  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lime zest
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut, finely ground
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk, well-mixed

For the crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour + more for dusting
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 ounces sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 egg

 

  • Garnish of key lime slices and shredded coconut
Coconut Lime Panna Cotta Tartlettes by Sam Henderson of Today's Nest

Coconut Lime Panna Cotta Tartlettes by Sam Henderson of Today's Nest

The method:

For the panna cotta:

  1. Sprinkle gelatin over lime juice in a wide shallow bowl. Set aside for at least 5 minutes while you prepare the liquid. 
  2. Add half and half, coconut milk, sugar, and salt to a small saucepan. Over medium low heat, stir until sugar is dissolved and mixture is well blended. Continue cooking over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until you reach simmering point. Remove from heat and immediately add gelatin and lime juice. Stir until smooth.
  3. Prepare tea cups or small bowls with rounded bottoms by lightly coating the insides with cooking spray. Place the bowls on a tray and divide the panna cotta mixture evenly amongst them. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before assembly.

For the filling:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate until about 30 minutes before assembly. 

For the crust:

  1. Pulse the flour, salt, and butter together in a food processor until it is the consistency of corn meal. Whisk the egg and sweetened condensed milk together in a small bowl. With the food processor running, add the egg mixture to the flour mixture. Blend only until mixed.
  2. Remove the dough from the food processor and knead it a few times on a flat surface lightly dusted with flour. Form the dough into a disc, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before proceeding.
  3. Remove the dough and divide it into 6 or 8 equal pieces depending on the size of your pans. Roll each ball into a disc about 1 inch wider than your tart pans. Press the dough into each tart pan and remove any excess with a sharp knife level with the rim of the pan. Make several fork holes in each crust and place them in the freezer for no less than 20 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°. Line the crusts with parchment and fill with pie weights or dry beans. Bake for 10 minutes, remove beans and parchment, and continue baking for 12-15 minutes or until just beginning to brown. Remove from the oven and cool completely before assembly.

For assembly:

  1. Divide the filling evenly among the tartlettes and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon dipped in water. 
  2. Use a paring knife to loosen the panna cotta all the way around the edge. Turn the bowl or cup over in your palm and lightly tap the bottom. The panna cotta should fall into your hand. Use both hands to carefully center it on top of the cream in each of the tartlettes. 
  3. Cover each panna cotta with shredded coconut and a key lime slice. 
  4. Keep refrigerated and serve chilled.
Coconut Lime Panna Cotta Tartlettes by Sam Henderson of Today's Nest

Coconut Lime Panna Cotta Tartlettes by Sam Henderson of Today's Nest