If you're inviting Grandma for dinner, you'd best mind your dessert.
One year, Julian brought a Momofuku Milk Bar banana cake to Thanksgiving. It's a complex tower of textures, technique and bravado. But, man, is it sugary. Not being one for niceties, Grandma made faces all night, pronouncing it ho dim, too sweet, to her entourage of sassy ladies from her Latin dancing class.
I knew Grandma would like this because I had something like it while vacationing in Hong Kong with her. In some shiny mall, we snacked on a sweet coconut soup with tapioca and pomelo pulp. It's a dessert that's both fresh and indulgent. It's clean, refreshing, delicately perfumed, and fun to eat.
So I made this panna cotta in a tart pan to make it somewhat Thanksgiving-y. Though my dessert was a bit overshadowed by a more voluptuous creme brulee, people liked it, Grandma loved it, and I got to save face in front of the Latin dancing ladies.
RECIPE: Blossom one envelope of gelatin in two tablespoons of water. Heat one can of coconut milk, a splash of whole milk, and two tablespoons of sugar (or more, if you like this sweet). I also add coconut extract, because I never think coconut milk is coconutty enough. Bring milk mixture to a simmer, then add blossomed gelatin. Mix until dissolved. Pour into appropriate vessel. As the mixture cools, peel and pulp a pomelo. Add a handful of pulp to the mixture, along with the zest of one (organic!) lime. Chill for at least 6 hours. Remove 10 minutes before serving, so the gelatin can recuperate from refrigerator rigor mortis.