Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Beauty Of White...Panna Cotta

Panna Cotta is probably my favorite dessert ever. It's sweet, rich, and glistening creamy white. Panna cotta (from Italian cooked cream) is an Italian dessert made by simmering together cream, milk and sugar, mixing this with gelatin, and letting it cool until set. It's generally from the Northern Italian region of Piemonte, although it is eaten all over Italy, where it's served with wild berries, caramel, chocolate sauce or fruit coulis.


3 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 gelatin leaves, soaked in cold water for about 4 minutes
1/2 cup honey
Ground and toasted hazelnuts, optional


Place the cream, vanilla bean, and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat.

Remove the vanilla bean and split lengthwise. Scrape the vanilla beans into the cream.

Squeeze the gelatin leaves to remove any excess water, then add them to the pan, stirring constantly about 30 seconds, or until the gelatin is melted.

Drizzle about 2 teaspoons honey into the bottom of 6 (4-ounce) molds. Ladle the cream mixture into each. Refrigerate for several hours, until thoroughly chilled.

To remove from the mold: Dip the bottom of the mold into a pot of hot water to loosen the panna cotta. Slide a knife around the edge, then carefully turn over onto a serving plate. Drizzle with the remaining honey and garnish with hazelnuts, if desired.

Panna Cotta isn't particularly easy to make, but believe me it's worth the effort!

Buon Appetito! C

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