I still cannot believe that panna cotta can be this easy to make. Seriously, someone pinch me.
R loves panna cotta and orders it whenever he can. Of late, after a few disappointments where we were served more of a custard pudding rather than actual creamy panna cotta, he had been pestering me to make it – accompanied by the usual flatteries of how I am the best baker/ cook he knows etc. J
Somehow, without ever looking up the recipe, I always thought that the recipe (not taste) would be more like a custard and involve tedious amounts of time over the stove while cooking eggs with sugar. Note to self: do not assume and check facts first.
I don’t think this took me more than 5 minutes to make, setting aside the time for the gelatine of course. It super easy (did I mention that already) and I made a healthier version by swapping half the full cream with whole milk. I also infused the cream and milk with lavender flowers (make sure you buy the edible version else it may taste like soap!). I added a few drops of honey on top after it had set but realized that it did not need the additional sweetness. I grated some lemon zest on top and added a few toasted almonds. I liked it but R said it made the panna cotta too busy.
This was not the perfect panna cotta by any means and my search is still on. However, let’s see if the following changes yield up better results the next time:
1. Use full cream instead of half cream and half milk
2. Less sugar and more honey
3. Berry compote instead of lavender
4. Strain out the lavender flowers after infusing
5. Chocolate panna cotta?
6. Make plain panna cotta with more vanilla
Panna Cotta (inspired by David Lebovitz)
Makes 8 - 12 servings depending on the size of your cups
- 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
- 1 teaspoon lavender flowers
- 2 packets powdered unflavored gelatin (about 4 1/2 teaspoons
- 6 tablespoons (90ml) cold water
1. Heat the heavy cream or half-and-half and sugar in a saucepan . 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. Add lavender flowers. Cover, and let infuse for 30 minutes. Remove the bean and flowers, then rewarm the mixture before continuing.)
2. Lightly oil eight custard cups with a neutral-tasting oil (I used silicone muffin cups - it makes it easier to unmold).
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.
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.