For the Panna Cotta
1 cup whole milk
2 1/4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
2 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Several drops of Kaffir Lime oil
, or 6 Kaffir Lime leaves, sliced in half, plus the zest of one Kaffir lime
For Chili Creme Anglaise
5 large egg yolks
2 cups half and half
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise or 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
Several dried Chiles de Arbol (or a non-smoked dry chili of your choice) Directions:
For the Panna Cotta:
Brush six small custard cups (like, 6 oz ones) with canola oil. Pour the milk into a medium sized bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Let it stand for at least 5 minutes, or as you cook the rest of the mixture.
Stir cream and sugar in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. If you are not using Kaffir Lime oil, and are using leaves and zest, add them now. Bring to boil and remove it from heat. If you added leaves and zest, strain the mixture. Add the chocolate, whisking until melted. Whisk warm chocolate mixture into gelatin mixture, stirring to dissolve. Stir in the Kaffir Lime oil if you haven't used the leaves and zest. Divide mixture among custard cups and cool them in the fridge overnight, to set. You can make these up to 2 days ahead of time.
For the Creme Anglaise:
In a small bowl, stir the sugar and yolks until well blended.
In a small saucepan heat the half and half, vanilla bean (if using), and 4 chiles roughly chopped just to the boiling point. As the mixture heats, taste it to make sure the heat is to your liking. Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk a few tablespoons of the half and half mixture into the yolk mixture. Then, gradually add the remaining cream, whisking constantly. This is called tempering, and prevents the egg from cooking and curdling in the hot half and half mixture. If it does curdle, finish preparing the sauce, strain it, and blitz it in a blender until smooth.
Pour the mixture back into a saucepan and, over medium heat, gently heat the mixture to just below the boiling point. Steam will float off of the mixture and the mixture will be slightly thicker than heavy cream. Check to see if it is the right consistency by holding a wooden spoon covered in the mixture sideways and run your finger along the back of the spoon. If the mixture doesn't run to fill in the streak the finger made, it's ready.
Immediately remove from the heat and pour through the strainer, scraping up any thickened cream that settles on the bottom of the pan. Remove the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the sauce. Stir until seeds separate. For maximum flavor, return the pod to the sauce until serving time. (If you are using pure vanilla extract, instead of the vanilla bean, add it to the cream now.)
The creme anglaise should be covered with plastic wrap and left in the fridge until cool. When ready, drizzle over the panna cotta, or if you're feeling adventurous, toss it in an ice cream machine and make spicy ice cream!