Panna cotta, which literally means cooked cream, is a classic Italian dessert that anyone can make at home with ease. It is the simplest of desserts- a softly set pudding, made of cream, sugar and gelatin. In the earlier days, where it originated in Northern Italy, the cream would be simmered with fish bones(the collagen in the bones would set the cream). Today, the easy availability of gelatin in the market has made this one of the most simple desserts to make at home.
Panna cotta is literally the most perfect dessert, if you ask us. We can mention five basic reasons for using the word “perfect” to describe this dish. Firstly, it is very simple to make, thanks to the availability of gelatin in the market. Secondly, it is always gluten free, as long as your cream, sugar and gelatin is gluten free, and can be incorporated easily into modern diets. Thirdly, it can be made with low sugar, no sugar or just fruit sugars. Still need more reasons? Well here they are. The dish is egg free and can be easily dairy free as almond milk, coconut milk and various other non-dairy milks can be used in this dish thanks to the wonder of one single element that is gelatin. Finally, it can now even be incorporated into vegan palates by using any gelatin substitute available in the market(like Unflavored Vegan Jel).
We assume you are now convinced to try this “perfect” dessert. Ensue the recipe below to get the perfect panna cotta with it’s signature wobble on the plate, with very little technique involved. We have used chocolate and coffee flavors here, you can use any flavor along with this recipe to get similar and desired results.
CHOCOLATE AND COFFEE PANNA COTTA
PREP TIME: DEPENDS ON CHOICE OF FLAVOR COOKING TIME: 15 MINS AND AROUND 4 HOURS TO SET SERVES: 8 or 9 PEOPLE
HERE’S WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
2 cups milk (dairy or non-dairy depending upon your choice)
2 cups Fresh Cream (We have used Amul Fresh Cream)
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon gelatin (soaked in water at room temperature)
Cocoa Powder and Coffee powder (as per requirement)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO DO:
Take 2 cups milk, 2 cups fresh cream and 1 cup sugar in a saucepan. Put it on the low flame and wait till it comes to a boil and then take it off the flame. All the while keep stirring to mix the sugar, cream and milk together.
Keep stirring until the mixture cools down and then add the cocoa powder and coffee powder and taste till you get the flavor you desire. (NOTE: If you are using fruits as basic flavor then add the pureed fruit while on the flame and then wait for it to boil. All powdered flavors are to be added off the flame). Then add the vanilla extract and the water and gelatin mixture to the above mixture. Stir until all the powders have dissolved and pass through the sieve to get a clear mixture which should look like this.
Pour this mixture into moulds and leave it in the the refrigerator to set. It should take around 4 hours to set. If you’re preparing this on short notice, you can set it in the blast chiller but transfer it to regular refrigerator after it has set to store for days. (NOTE: Do not leave in the blast chiller for too long as it will become icy and lose it’s signature wobble). And it’s done. Simple, isn’t it?
Normally, Panna cotta is served with a sauce or syrup or crumble. Here, we are going to serve it with crunchy Sesame Seed and Chilli Salt Praline. This part of the dish is also ridiculously simple despite having a pretty long name(seriously those are a lot of words for a dish name). Ensue the recipe below to make this perfectly.
SESAME SEED AND CHILLI SALT PRALINE
PREP TIME: NONE
COOK TIME: 5 MINUTES
HERE’S WHAT YOU WILL NEED :
1 cup sugar
1/2 a red chilli de-seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
Salt (according to taste)
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO DO :
Melt the sugar in a non-stick pan on a low flame and wait till it starts turning brown into caramel.
Turn off the flame and add the chopped chili, toasted sesame seeds and salt to the caramel and pour it on a piece of baking paper and spread it evenly and leave it to cool.
SERVING THE DISH:
Take the set panna cotta out of the mold and once the praline has hardened, you can either blend it and serve as a crumb or break it into bits and serve on top of the Panna cotta as a crunchy element. Watch out for the signature wobble of the dish and you’re done making this ridiculously simple dessert.
Do try this simple dessert at home and experiment with other flavors and let us know!