Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Panna Cotta

Panna cotta was one of my contributions to our "local feast" on New Year's Eve. Despite a few bad decisions on my part, I was pleased with how this recipe turned out and will definitely make it again.

So what did I do wrong? [At least] 3 things: a) I took a new recipe to a party without trying it first; b) I waited until the last minute to make it; and c) I underestimated how difficult it would be to disassemble the cold water bath by myself (there wasn't enough size difference between the two bowls I used).

This is actually a pretty simple recipe (just make sure you don't make the mistakes I did!) which would be perfect with fresh berries in the summer.

Panna Cotta

1 cup whole milk
2 1/2 tsp. unflavored gelatin
1 vanilla bean, slit lengthwise
3 cups heavy cream
6 tbsp. sugar
pinch salt

  1. Pour the milk into a medium saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over milk. Let stand 10-15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, scrape seeds from vanilla bean. Combine cream, vanilla bean, and seeds in a large measuring cup and set aside.
  3. Place eight 4-oz. ramekins on a baking sheet and set aside. Make a large bowl of ice water (about 4 cups water and 2 trays ice cubes).
  4. Heat milk and gelatin over high heat, stirring constantly, until gelatin is dissolved and the mixture registers 135 degrees (1-2 minutes). Remove from heat. Add sugar and salt, stir until dissolved (1 minute). Slowly add cream and vanilla mixture, stirring constantly.
  5. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl; gently place this bowl into the bowl of ice water. Allow mixture to cool, stirring frequently, until it has thickened to the consistency of eggnog and reaches 50 degrees (10-20 minutes). Strain the mixture into a pitcher, then pour into ramekins.
  6. Refrigerate until panna cotta is set - at least four hours but up to 5 days in advance of serving (make sure to cover well with plastic wrap).
  7. Serve with lightly sweetened berries or berry coulis.
  8. Note: I used milk and cream from Heartland Creamery.
    - Adapted from The Best Make-Ahead Recipe, from Cook's Illustrated


Hungry Gal said...

I love panna cotta... it is so simple and so elegant. Very very lovely. I like this photo, too!

Jaime said...

i've always wanted to try making panna cotta at home - this looks delicious