Posted on August 09 2017
Panna cotta is a rich, creamy set dessert from Piedmont in northern Italy- the same region where the hazelnuts grow for our chocolates.
The name literally means ‘cooked (Cotta) cream (Panna)’ and that is exactly what it is. Nothing like a blancmange or angel delight but a delightful flavoured cream dish that can be served and flavoured in multiple ways.
Don’t be fooled though, it is such a simple dish in fact that the flavour and texture have to be spot on. Typically flavoured with vanilla, the creamy dish is best served with sharp fruits to counter the sweetness.
Here’s a recipe that we feel works best of all - and we’ve even offered some alternative flavour options just for fun.
2 x 2g leaves gelatine
300ml double cream
100ml full-fat milk
vanilla pod (seeds scraped out)
50ml buttermilk (*can be left out but does give a nice texture)
115g caster sugar (*this is quite a lot of sugar but we like it sweet - add less to taste)
Vegetable oil, to grease
1. Pour the cream into a pan, add the sugar and vanilla. Heat gently, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Bring just to a simmer, and then take off the heat. Remove the vanilla pod and discard.
2. Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for about 5 minutes until soft.
3. Squeeze the water out of the gelatine and then stir it into the warm cream mixture to dissolve.
4.Pour through a sieve into a clean bowl and stir in the milk and buttermilk. Taste for sweetness and add more sugar if necessary.
5. Grease the inside of 4 espresso cups or small ramekins and divide the mixture between them. Cool and then refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
6. To turn out, put the dishes briefly in boiling water and then invert on to plates. Serve with berries or fruit compote.
Why not try?
Home made strawberry sauce
Mix 440g strawberries topped and chopped, 1.5 tsp cornflour and 50g white caster sugar - heat over medium heat for 4-5 minutes until strawberries have softened and juices thickened - eat when cooled.
2 tbsp elderflower cordial instead of the buttermilk and vanilla makes for a very interesting alternative. Great served with mint.