With all the amazing weather Melbourne has been getting lately (well, up until today, anyway), I thought it was fitting to rustle up a summery dessert on my day off. A little while back, my sister was harping on about the best panna cotta she had ever tasted at Emporio Della Pasta. I’d never tried making panna cotta before and I was looking to one up the crème brulee gods after a recent attempt that went south and failed to set properly. So I figured why not? 🙂
I used a recipe from the ever trusty Taste website and after giving it a quick once-over, I decided it was a hell of a lot more straightforward than the crème brulee recipe I had followed. Plus, panna cotta’s such a versatile dessert, that you can change it up however you like. I chose to go down the classic vanilla bean and berry route, but you can use anything from chocolate to coffee to any of your favourite liqueurs – whatever floats your boat.
1 & ½ cups (375ml) pouring cream
1 & ½ cups (375ml) milk
1 vanilla pod (I used 1 tsp of vanilla bean paste)
½ cup (115g) caster sugar
2 &1/2 tsp gelatine powder
Mixed berries, to serve
Pour milk and cream into a saucepan. Split vanilla bean in half, scrape seeds out and add both to the milk and cream mixture. Alternatively, add a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste. Much less fiddly and equally effective! 🙂
Bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and set aside for 10 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse.
Remove vanilla bean from the saucepan if necessary. Add caster sugar and return to a low heat. Stir mixture until sugar dissolves. A good way to check is to scrape the bottom of the saucepan with a wooden spoon – the sugar tends to collect there otherwise.
Fill a small heatproof bowl or measuring cup with 2 tbs of boiling water and add gelatine powder. Place bowl or cup into a small saucepan filled with boiling water and stir gelatine mixture until it dissolves and forms a gel-like consistency. Cool slightly and then stir into the cream mixture.
Sidebar – if you’ve never used gelatine powder before, whatever you do, don’t take whiff out of curiosity! That stuff is nasty! But don’t worry – it won’t compromise your panna cotta or any other dessert you’re trying to set.
Lightly oil 6 dariole moulds or ramekins – this will make it easier for you to turn the panna cottas out later. Pour cream mixture into moulds or ramekins and refrigerate for a minimum of four hours. I left mine in the fridge overnight to allow for more setting time.
Once the panna cottas have set, run a sharp knife around the edge of the mould or ramekin to break the seal. If you’re having trouble getting them out, place them in a shallow bath of boiling water for 10-20 seconds. Place a serving plate on top of mould or ramekin, flip and tap firmly to release.
Trust me on this – there is nothing more satisfying than the little schloop you hear as you turn your panna cottas out. 😀
I’ve had some frozen raspberries sitting in my freezer for ages, so I decided to make a raspberry coulis to jazz things up a bit. It was so easy to make, I am considering blindfolding myself and tying one hand behind my back the next time I make it. 😉
500g of frozen raspberries
1/3 cup caster sugar
Place raspberries and caster sugar into a saucepan over medium heat. Stir continuously until mixture starts to bubble. Remove from heat and crush raspberries with the back of a wooden spoon to a fine pulp.
Pass raspberry mixture through a sieve until only the seeds are left.
And…that’s pretty much all there is to it. You can store the coulis in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.
Pour raspberry coulis over panna cotta and top with mixed berries.
I was so stoked with how these turned out! If you’re after a super simple, fail-safe dessert that’s easy on the eye and on the wallet, this is it. Bring on summer! 😀
– Erika x