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VILLAGER - Fruit Garden Panna Cotta Parfait with Honeycomb

Updated: Jul 19, 2021


Complexity: ★★★★★


The life of an Animal Crossing villager is simple and peaceful. Tending to a flower garden, catching bugs, picking fresh fruit... I knew I had to translate the outdoorsiness of Animal Crossing into a dessert. Growing delicious fruit and beautiful flowers is one of the most relaxing and satisfying activities in the game, so I wanted this dessert to be like a garden in a bowl. Remember “worms in dirt” - that chocolate pudding and gummy worm treat served at parties for kids? This decadent trifle-style pudding is a “gourmet” take on this idea. Instead of chocolate pudding and crushed oreos, our “dirt” is chocolate panna cotta over a bed of mocha-coconut shortbread crumble. A layer of light and airy green marshmallow cream resembles the grass, and is also inspired by the equally green & marshmallow-y "Grasshopper Pie" (I thought this would be a cute way to reference the bug-catching in Animal Crossing without, well, putting actual insects into the dish!)



This whole ensemble is topped with a plethora of fruit found in the Animal Crossing series: apples, pears, peaches, oranges, bananas, and cherries! I also included chunks of honeycomb toffee as a reference to the nefarious beehives which fall onto unsuspecting tree-shaking players. Edible flowers and mint leaves are the perfect finishing touch on this gourmet garden! (Note: the edible flowers were sadly out of season when I took the photographs!)


You can also make an individual serving in a cup!

 

INGREDIENTS

Chocolate Shortbread Crumble:

  • 1 ½ cups unsalted butter

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

  • ¼ cup cocoa powder

  • 2 tbsp instant coffee powder

  • ¼ tsp baking soda

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 cup shredded coconut

Chocolate Panna Cotta:

  • 2 cups cream

  • 2 cups milk

  • 2 tbsp gelatin powder

  • ½ cup granulated sugar

  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

  • 2 cups semi-sweet baker's chocolate

Honeycomb Toffee:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • ¼ cup honey

  • ¼ cup water

  • 1 tbsp baking soda

Marshmallow Cream:

  • 1 egg white

  • ¾ cup light corn syrup

  • ¾ cup confectioners' sugar

  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

  • Green food dye

Honeyed Fruit:

  • 1 red apple (eg: Honeycrisp, Idared, or Jazz), sliced

  • 1 pear (eg: D'anjou, Bartlett), sliced

  • 1 yellow peach, sliced

  • 1 mandarin orange, peeled and sliced

  • 1 ripe banana, peeled and sliced

  • 1 cup red cherries, stones removed

  • ¼ cup honey

  • 1 lemon, juiced

  • ½ tsp cinnamon

Candied Flowers:

  • Assorted edible flowers

  • Mint leaves (optional)

  • 1 egg white (The egg will remain uncooked, so it is safest to use powdered egg whites. Simply mix 2 teaspoons of powder with 2 tablespoons of water)

  • Granulated sugar, for dusting



PREPARATION

For shortbread crumble:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Whisk flour, cocoa powder, instant coffee powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.

  3. Cream butter, sugar, and vanilla in an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Incorporate dry ingredients.

  4. Spread dough into baking sheet. Chill for about 15 minutes until firm. Meanwhile, spread shredded coconut onto a separate baking sheet.

  5. Bake shortbread in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Toast coconut in the oven until golden brown.

  6. Break shortbread into pieces and add to a blender or food processor with toasted coconut, blitz until completely crumbled.

  7. Press crumbs into the bottom of a large trifle dish.

For panna cotta:

  1. Heat cream and milk in a medium saucepan. Add sugar and gelatin powder and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat.

  2. Melt semi-sweet chocolate over a double boiler. Stir into cream mixture and add vanilla extract. Pour into trifle dish and place in refrigerator to set.

For honeycomb:

  1. Line a metal loaf pan or baking tray with parchment paper.

  2. Heat sugar, honey, and water in a large sauce pan until it reaches 300° on a candy thermometer. As soon as it reaches 300°, remove from heat and quickly whisk in baking soda. The mixture will begin to foam and expand, so quickly transfer to the prepared pan.

  3. Set aside until the toffee hardens. When fully set, remove from pan and break into pieces.

For marshmallow cream:

  1. Beat egg white and corn syrup with an electric mixer on high speed until doubled in volume.

  2. Reduce speed to low and beat in confectioners' sugar and vanilla extract until no lumps of sugar remain. Gently fold in food dye until just combined.

For fruit:

  1. Heat honey, lemon juice, and cinnamon in a medium saucepan until syrupy.

  2. Add sliced fruit and cook until softened, 5-10 minutes. Transfer to a container and refrigerate until fully cooled.

For candied flowers:

  1. Rinse flowers and mint leaves and lay out to dry. Dip into egg white and dust with sugar. Lay out on a wire rack to dry.

Assembly:

  1. Once panna cotta has set, spread a layer of marshmallow cream on top. Top with fruit mixture and decorate with honeycomb chunks, flowers, and mint leaves.


I wanted to reference as many items from the Animal Crossing series as I possibly could.

TOP TIER TIPS

  • This is a very complex recipe with many steps, and may require pre-making certain components a day earlier. There is no shame in making it easier for yourself and simply buying some of the components! Store-bought chocolate shortbread cookies, marshmallow fluff, or honeycomb toffee can be substituted - it won't taste as "gourmet," but it will save you time.

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