Yes I am going to start the week off with a recipe because I feel as if I need a pick me up and usually sensual – yes food can be sensual – dessert recipes will do the trick, that is only if I cannot travel to Europe at the particular time.
Anyway, I found this recipe here and in my opinion it is one of the best Panna Cotta I have ever tasted, well, outside of my “late” chef cousin who used to make them for me.
So here it goes and if you try it, please let me know how you liked it. One piece of advice, get creative with the toppings. Also, if you are on a strict diet or a healthy eating kick, this recipe is not one to follow.
Adapted from Secrets From My Tuscan Kitchen by Judy Witts
I love this dessert and the great thing about Panna Cotta is that it demands to be made in advance. You can make them up to two days ahead and keep them well-covered and chilled.
For gelatin-related questions, read my Tips for Using Gelatin. You can find instructions for using sheet gelatin at the end of the recipe.
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.