Monday, October 21, 2013

The Perfect Panna Cotta

Panna cotta (which means cooked cream in Italian) is an Italian dessert made by simmering together cream, milk and sugar, mixing it with gelatin, and letting it cool until set.

Deliciously light and creamy, this dessert is so easy to make and makes a great companion for bright, sharp summer fruit. Or pair it with Christmas spices and a dried fruit compote for a classy winter dessert.

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The Perfect Panna Cotta
Recipe Adapted from David Lebovitz


3 cups thickened cream + 1 cup full cream milk
80g 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, milk and sugar in a saucepan over a gentle flame. 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.

7) Top the Panna Cotta with your favourite fruit coulis.

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