This year’s harsh winter season made me either stay curled up in bed in my pajamas and not leave home or bound to St. Barts. Since the latter couldn’t happen at all because of graduate school, I could do is make something tropical-inspired. Earlier the past month, I acquired some fruit purées from Perfect Purée. They carry a number of fruit puree concentrates that range from the usual fruits of raspberry, cherry and the like, to the savory roasted bell pepper. I ended up getting the passion fruit and Meyer lemon.
As the passion fruit was something I was aping for, I made two desserts out them: tapioca passion fruit coconut parfaits and passion fruit ice cream. The latter recipe is from David Lebovitz‘s awesome ice cream book, The Perfect Scoop, so I won’t post his recipe up. Buy his book, you’ll love it if you are an ice cream lover as I am.
As for the parfaits, this layered beauty screams tropical from the vibrant, floral, tart passion fruit gelée on the bottom, the gently sweet, creamy coconut panna cotta, and chewy, large tapioca pearls that has a nice hint of spice that’s cooked in it. For sure, I forgotten I am a winter wonderland when I ate this dessert.
Perfect Puree’s passion fruit purée is very clean (not muddled with sugar or corn syrup) and intensely flavored that a little goes a long way with its flavor. When I shared these desserts with my family, they were enamored with the floral, sweet-tart, intensity of the passion fruit flavor.
For the recipe of the parfaits, look after the jump.
Tapioca Passion fruit Coconut Parfaits
Adapted from Martha Stewart
2 cups canned unsweetened coconut milk (16 ounces)
1 cup heavy cream
1 piece peeled fresh ginger (1 1/2 inches) , cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
1 3/4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
3/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup passion-fruit juice or nectar
5 green cardamom pods
10 whole black peppercorns
1 fresh bay leaf
3 1/2 cups whole milk, plus 1/2 cup if needed
1/2 cup large pearl tapioca (3 1/4 ounces)
3 tablespoons of Perfect Purée’s passion fruit concentrate + 3 tablespoons water (it’s a 1:1 dilution ratio)
Make coconut panna cotta
1. Bring 1 cup coconut milk and the cream to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Remove from heat, and add ginger. Cover, and let steep 30 minutes. Pour mixture through a fine sieve into a clean medium saucepan; discard ginger.
2. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon gelatin over 1 1/2 tablespoons cold water in a small bowl, and let stand 2 minutes to soften. Whisk gelatin mixture and 1/4 cup sugar into coconut-milk mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until sugar and gelatin have dissolved. Pour 1/2 cup panna cotta into each of six glasses. Refrigerate until firm, about 2 1/2 hours.
Make the passion fruit gelée
3. Sprinkle remaining 3/4 teaspoon gelatin over passion-fruit juice in a small saucepan; let stand 2 minutes to soften. Whisk in 1 teaspoon sugar. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring, until gelatin and sugar have dissolved. Pour through a fine sieve into a glass measuring cup; let cool, about 10 minutes. Pour 3 tablespoons gelée into each glass. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 1/2 hours.
Cook the tapioca pearls
4. In a separate saucepan or pot, boil a pot of water and cook and simmer your large tapioca pearls. Cook the pearls, stirring them often, until they are tender yet slightly chewy, about 50-75 minutes. (It would be less cooking time if you use smaller tapioca pearls.) Once this is cooked, drain and set aside.
5. Tie cardamom, peppercorns, and bay leaf in a square of cheesecloth to make a bouquet garni. Bring whole milk and remaining cup coconut milk to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add bouquet garni and remaining 1/2 cup sugar, bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring for 15 to 20 minutes. When the liquid is reduced slightly, add the cooked tapioca. Continue to cook, stirring often, until tapioca pearls are tender, 10 to 20 minutes. Discard the bouquet garni. Cover tapioca; let cool to room temperature, or refrigerate until ready to serve.
6. Just before serving, if you prefer a thinner tapioca, stir in up to 1/2 cup milk. Divide tapioca among glasses over gelée. Halve passion fruits, and spoon pulp and seeds over each parfait.
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