Friday, January 09, 2015

The Simple Five: Panna Cotta

Panna Cotta is an Italian dessert traditionally made with cream, egg white and honey, which is then baked in the oven. This version is a simpler, non-bake version than the traditional panna cotta, and is served chilled (similar to a custard or pudding).

I love how flexible this dessert is considering there the basic recipe has only five ingredients. You can add any kind of flavourings to it (vanilla, chocolate, maple syrup) according to taste, and it can be served anytime of the year.  It's a fresh dessert alternative, particularly after heavier meals (or if you want something light after the indulgent holidays). It's easy to make ahead of time and kept in the fridge until it's ready to serve (perfect for dinner parties).


Simple Panna Cotta
(Makes approximately 6 servings)

  • 4 teaspoons powdered gelatin
  • ⅓  cup sugar
  • 4 cups of half and half cream
  • 1 ¼  teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt (optional)
  • Pour 2 cups of the cream into the saucepan and sprinkle the powdered gelatin evenly over top. 
  • Let soften for 5 minutes or until the surface of the milk is wrinkled and the gelatin grains look wet (this is called "blooming the gelatin").
  • Warm gently over low heat, whisking frequently for approximately 2 minutes or until the gelatin is dissolved (the cream should not be boiled...remove if you see steam and let it cool down).  
  • Add the sugar into the cream stir until dissolved.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat. 
  • Whisk in the remainder 2 cups of cream, vanilla, and a pinch of salt.
  • Pour into small bowls or ramekins and chill for approximately 2 hours. (If you want to un-mold the panna cotta, chill overnight in greased bowls/ramekins).
Serve as is...or topped with any fruit, sauce or or chocolate shavings.  

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