Saturday, August 4, 2012

saturday funday: panna cotta

I must admit, I fell in love. It's a tortuous love, full of longing and waiting and chilling. Guys, panna cotta is one of my favorite things in the world now. Never mind the fact that it's 320 calories per serving (shhhhh that doesn't matter), it's a delicious Italian dessert that simply melts in your mouth. Better yet, it's served cold and is even better after a super hot day.

I took this recipe from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette one Thursday, but I'm putting it here to share the wealth of making easy panna cotta!

Total Time: 40 minutes, plus chilling

2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon powdered gelatin
2 ½ cups heavy cream
1 ½ cups whole milk
5 tablespoons sugar
1 2-inch section vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise, or ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Place the water in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the top. Stir to distribute, and set aside to soften 2 to 3 minutes.

Wipe the insides of 8 (1/2 cup) ramekins with a light coating of oil and set aside. Half-fill a large bowl with ice and add enough water to make an ice bath.

In a small saucepan, combine the cream, milk, sugar, and split vanilla bean, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from the heat, and whisk in the softened gelatin and the vanilla extract. If using vanilla beans, scrape the seeds from the bean pod into the mixture, and discard the pod.

Set the saucepan in the ice bath (making sure the top of the saucepan is well above the surface of the water), and whisk until the mixture is lukewarm. Rub your fingers together: There should be no grit from undissolved sugar or gelatin.

Ladle the mixture into the oiled ramekins and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight. If you’re going to keep them longer than overnight, cover them with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap gently against the panna cotta to prevent a skin from forming. 

Makes 8 servings.

Have you ever made panna cotta before? What's your favorite summertime dessert?