RECIPE: Roasted Red Pimento Panna Cotta with Candied Plantain and Orange Chutney

Tuesday, October 9, 2018 - 15:30
Are you even a Trini if you don’t have some pimentos chilling in your fridge? The versatile, flavourful but relatively tame (most times) pepper is used to season everything from stews to chows to fried rice. Dessert is the only place Trinbagonianas don't utilise pimentos—but there is so much potential here! With notes of cinnamon, pepper and clove the aromatic, floral beauty of the pepper delicately flavours our sweet and savoury for this week. Learn how to use the pimentos in their undiscovered dimensions this week with Chef Khary Roberts’ mind-blowingly inventive recipes. 
Roasted Red Pimento Panna Cotta with Candied Plantain and Orange Chutney
This panna cotta will have your taste buds dancing like parang is playing. Roasted pimentos cut through the dense creaminess of the panna cotta. You can even make the candied plantains as a snack, or the chutney to have with toast. Either way, this dessert is a goldmine.
Yields: 4 servings
Prep Time: 40 minutes 
Cook Time:  1 hour plus, 4 hours for setting
Total Time: 5 hours and 40 minutes
For the pimento panna cotta
¼ cup cold water or milk
2 ¼ teaspoons unflavoured powdered gelatin
2 cups heavy cream
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 whole red pimentos
½ teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
For the candied plantains
1 small plantain, thinly sliced
½ cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the orange chutney
2 tablespoons thinly sliced orange zest
2 to 3 oranges, peeled, pith removed, deseeded and thinly quartered
⅓ cup sugar
1 red onion, minced
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
Coarse salt and ground pepper
Place water in a small bowl and sprinkle gelatin over the surface in a single layer. Be sure not to pile it as that will prevent the crystals from dissolving properly. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes.
2 Coat pimentos with olive oil and place into a 300°F oven. Roast until tender then, purée until completely smooth.
3 Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat cream, sugar, roasted pimento purée and vanilla extract on medium heat; bring to a boil until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Stir in gelatin and immediately whisk until smooth and dissolved. If the gelatin hasn’t fully dissolved, return the saucepan to the stove and heat gently over low heat. Stir constantly and don’t let the mixture boil.
4 Pour cream into 4 individual serving dishes. Refrigerate for at least 2 to 4 hours, or until completely set.
5 Preheat oven to 250°F. Place thinly sliced plantain on a tray lined with parchment paper. Allow to dry for 10 minutes in the oven.
6 Meanwhile, combine cinnamon and brown sugar. Sprinkle sugar mixture evenly over the plantain slices and return to oven. Increase oven temperature to 350°F and allow sugar to caramelise for roughly 20 minutes.
7 Remove from oven and allow to air dry in tray at room temperature. Carefully remove from tray and let cool. Note: never store in refrigerator.
8 In a medium saucepan, combine orange zest and slices, sugar, red onions, salt, and 2 tablespoons water; bring to a boil over high heat. 
9 Reduce heat to medium, and simmer; stirring occasionally, until oranges collapse and liquid is syrupy, about 12 to 15 minutes.  
10  Remove from heat; stir in red-wine vinegar.
11 Spoon the jam over the panna cotta and lay 2 candied plantains on top. Scoop up a bit of everything and enjoy a heavenly bite.
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