So after the BH’s unabashedly MANLY blog I’ve decided to blog something softer, cooler, more elegant and decidedly more feminine: Panna Cotta! I adore panna cotta. It is without a doubt the perfect way to end a meal. It’s light, but still amazingly indulgent. It definitely has “that wow factor” and yet it couldn’t be easier to make and if you’re on a budget it will suit your pocket without saying CHEAP. While its direct translation, cooked cream, sounds a little bland, it is amazingly versatile. You can mix up the flavours; lemon, vanilla, coffee, rum, chocolate, honey, lemongrass, orange, lime and hazelnut, AND you can mix up the topping; dark chocolate, white chocolate, passion fruit, raspberry, blackberry, mango, pear, pomegranate, caramel, AND you can mix up the “cream” it’s made from, double cream, yogurt, buttermilk and coconut milk. It’s actually a little dizzying, but its versatility means that you can find the perfect dessert to complement just about any meal. It does however, need time to set overnight in the fridge. The downside of this is that you need to be organised enough to make it in advance and it takes up precious refrigerator space. The upside is that you have one less thing to worry about once your guests arrive. Here’s my coffee panna cotta.
To make six Panna Cotta take:
- 600ml of Double Cream
- 150 ml of milk
- 100 gm of sugar
- 1 sachet or 2tsps of powdered geletine
- flavouring – in this case, a 1/4 of coffee beans, 2 tsp instant coffee and 1Tbl of vanilla extract
For Decoration take
- 150 gm flaked almonds
- 150gm sugar
- dark chocolate
Add the gelatine to the milk for about five minutes to allow it to bloom.
Put the coffee beans and the cream in a pot and bring it to the boil. Remove it from the heat and stir in the sugar and the milk and gelatine and stir until both have dissolved. If need be put them back on a gentle heat to achieve this. Dissolve the instant coffee in the vanilla extract and add this to the cream mixture.
Strain the mixture and carefully pour into an attractive glass. I got mine here.
Place a piece of cling film on top of the panna cotta to prevent a skin from forming. Allow it to cool for about an hour and then place in your refrigerator to set.
To make the brittle, toast the almonds at 180° C for about 10-15 minutes. Prepare a baking tray, by covering it in parchment paper, then in a smallish saucepan heat the sugar without stirring (swirling is okay, but DON’T stir) until it has melted and become a beautiful golden color. Add the almonds to the caramel and pour the mix onto the parchment paper.
Once the panna cotta has set, melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pot of simmering water and then drizzle as decoratively as you wish over the top. Pop the panna cotta back into the fridge and just before serving add a shard of almond brittle.