Friday, June 14, 2013

Food on Friday: Panna Cotta

On my 26th birthday, I discovered something new about myself...something wonderful and life-altering.  That something was my love for panna cotta.  

It is now by far my favorite dessert.  For just about every special event and celebration--including Friday evenings and Wednesday afternoons--we indulge in the creamy little bit of heaven that is panna cotta and everything is right with the world once more.  Restaurant panna cotta is my favorite, unbeatable really.  But, most of the time, the supermarket version just has to do.  

Until last week when I tried making it for the very first time.  It was scrumptious, light, fresh and creamy, and a little bit like eating a vanilla flavored cloud.  And, it's easy.  Insanely easy.  So easy, in fact, that I am pretty sure it is a requirement that I make it every weekend from now until the end of my life (which will probably come quite early if I don't restrain myself just a little bit).  I topped my custardy vanilla goodness with smashed blackberries, a pinch of sugar and a squeeze of lime for a fresh summertime taste.  YUM.

My next goal is to try coconut milk panna cotta and then buttermilk blackberry panna cotta.  Don't be surprised if panna cotta posts become pretty regular around here.  I apologize in advance.  

Perfect Panna Cotta

  • 4 cups (1l) heavy cream (or half-and-half)
  • 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, or 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 2 packets powdered gelatin (about 4 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 6 tablespoons (90ml) cold water
1. Heat the heavy cream and sugar in a saucepan or microwave. Once the sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
(If using a vanilla bean, scrape the seeds from the bean into the cream and add the bean pod. Cover, and let infuse for 30 minutes. Remove the bean then rewarm the mixture before continuing.)
2. Lightly oil eight custard cups with a neutral-tasting oil.
3. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water in a medium-sized bowl and let stand 5 to 10 minutes.
4. Pour the very warm Panna Cotta mixture over the gelatin and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved.
5. Divide the Panna Cotta mixture into the prepared cups, then chill them until firm, which will take at least two hours but I let them stand at least four hours. (Judy told me American refrigerators are colder than European ones. )
If you’re pressed for time, pour the Panna Cotta mixture into wine goblets so you can serve them in the glasses, without unmolding.
6. Run a sharp knife around the edge of each Panna Cotta and unmold each onto a serving plate, and garnish as desired.
To make Panna Cotta with sheet gelatin: Soften 25g (approximately six sheets) in a liter of cold water for 5 to 10 minutes. Wring the sheets out and stir them into the warm Panna Cotta mixture in step # 4, until dissolved.

1 comment:

Dana Gerber said...

I didn't know it was so easy! I LOVE panna cotta too. Yay :)