While visiting my family on the mainland for the Summer, I find myself badly missing my friends and life in Hawaii. I miss walking everywhere I need to go, I miss the salt in my hair, I miss seeing Andrea and her cute little Tama often… and I miss the food. It’s true certain foods and produce are not as wonderful in Hawaii (like tomatoes which are pink and hard and shouldn’t even be called tomatoes) but other foods are pure bliss. We never had a day without eating at least one mango and one papaya for the afternoon gouter. Curry from Fiji and Pakistan were a weekly affair. All sorts of fish fresh from the pacific ocean were softly seasoned and sauteed before being presented at dinner… or skip the saute and enjoy the worlds freshest sushi!
Utah has a completely different food culture. Not in a bad way, it’s just different. Mexican and Texmex flavors dominate the scene (a good Mexican place is hard to come by on Oahu) and the fish will never be as fresh. Often when I’m missing our life in the Aloha State, I do the obvious and turn to food to bring back the flavors and memories I love so much.
There’s a term we use a lot over there: “Hawaiian-ized.” When the table salt stops shaking from the shaker because it’s solid and clumpy, it’s been Hawaiian-ized. When the hard candy you left on the table is a nothing but a pool of sweet liquid the next day, it’s been Hawaiian-ized. When your children assume everyone in the world is their Auntie or Uncle, and they believe wearing shoes is cruel and unusual punishment, they’ve been Hawaiian-ized. If a dish has been topped with coconut, mango, papaya… or spam… it’s been Hawaiian-ized.
You get the idea.
So when I got a hankering for some Panna Cotta, but was simultaniously missing Hawaii, what else could I do but Hawaiian-ize it?
While I’m snapping some pics, suddenly in the view-finder all I see is a cute tiny hand wielding a spoon… Eden came out to help herself to some dessert. I didn’t have the heart to stop her.
If your day also needs some Hawaiian-izing, this recipe only takes 5 minutes of commitment in the kitchen then they set up in the fridge. It’s as simple and easy as a recipe can be. I used as little milk products as possible, there’s only the mascarpone used to cute through and soften the coconut flavor. We topped our dessert with fresh blended strawberries, and on the other a blueberry lemon compote. However, your topping options are endless: caramel, pomegranate syrup, poached pears and their juice… on and on and on!
- 1 cup coconut creamer (a dairy creamer replacement)
- 1 cup coconut manna (a heavy cream dairy replacement)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
- ½ cup agave or sugar
- 1 packet of unflavored gelatin
- ½ cup coconut milk
- ½ cup mascarpone (8 oz container)
- Sprinkle the gelatin over the milk in a bowl and let stand until the gelatin softens, about 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place the creamer and coconut manna in a saucepan. Add the sugar and vanilla bean paste, bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
- Stir the gelatin mixture into the hot cream mixture until dissolved, then stir in the mascarpone. Divide among six to eight ramekins, or wine glasses, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, about 6 hours. Can also be made the night before and left to set overnight.
- Top with your choice of berry compote, fresh sliced fruit, or caramel.