Panna Cotta Fever

Cardamom Yogurt Panna Cotta

 

About a week ago Curly did a catering gig with another friend, Elizabeth, an amazing cook and great chef to work an event with. He could not stop talking about this dessert served at the catering gig going on and on about how wonderful and perfect it was and could not wait to try making it in his kitchen.  He did mention the name of the dessert but I’m not good with names and had a hard time remembering it.

 

A few days later I was making plans to visit Shukezi at Nikara’s place up in Sonoma when she began raving about a dessert called Panna Cotta that Nikara made.  As she described the dessert something clicked … hey, that is Curly’s dessert!  Two days later we drove up to visit Shukezi and Nikara and luckily for us Nikara decided to do the dessert.  As Curly and Shukezi happily attacked the garden, I watched Nikara put the dessert together and that kicked off my Panna Cotta Fever.

 

Wikipedia defines Panna cotta (from Italian cooked cream) as an Italian dessert made by simmering together cream, milk and sugar, mixing this with gelatin, and letting it cool until set.  All that should only take about 10-15 minutes from start to finish.

 

Panna Cotta is a wonderful and elegant dessert that is deceptively simple to make.  It is traditionally served with fruit coulis or with fresh fruits accompanied by a sweet sauce.  Once you master the basic steps you can let your imagination run wild and come up with your own original creation.  Here are two versions of Panna Cotta I created.

 

Cardamom Yogurt Panna Cotta

 

Cardamom Yogurt Panna Cotta

Serves 8

 

1/4 cup Cold water

1 envelope unflavored gelatin

2 cups Heavy Cream

1/3 cup Yogurt

1/3 cup Milk

1/3 cup Sugar

pinch of salt

4 cardamom pod seeds

1 inch Vanilla bean (or 1/4 tsp vanilla extract)

1/4 tsp rose water

 

Orange Cardamom Sauce

5 cardamom pod seeds

1 large blood orange

1 medium orange

1 small lemon, juiced

1/3 cup Sugar

1/3 cup Water

 

Directions

For Panna Cotta

  1. Sprinkle gelatin in quarter cup water and let rest.
  2. Whisk yogurt with 1/3 cup milk till lumps dissolve.
  3. Over medium heat in heavy saucepan, whisk together yogurt mixture, heavy cream, cardamom, vanilla bean (if using vanilla extract wait for step 4) salt and sugar.
  4. Continue whisking and bring mixture to a simmer.  Add rose water (and vanilla extract if using).  Turn fire off when bubbles start forming on side of saucepan and remove from fire.
  5. Whisk in reserved gelatin till dissolved.
  6. Let rest for 5 minutes before pouring into individual bowls.
  7. Refrigerate for 3-5 hours or overnight.

For Sauce

  1. Using a sharp knife cut skin off oranges.  Do not discard skin and scraps because the juice can be squeezed out of them to flavor sauce.
  2. Cut away transparent membrane from orange slices and place slices into a small bowl.
  3. Place saucepan on a high flame and bring to boil cardamom seeds, water, sugar, lemon juice and reserved orange juices for 5 minutes.
  4. Lower heat to medium and bring to a soft boil for another 5 to 10 minutes or until mixture turns syrupy.
  5. Pour syrup over orange slices and let cool till ready to serve.

Putting it together

  1. Prepare a bowl or pan with hot water.
  2. One at a time, dip panna cotta bowl into hot water for 10 seconds then pass a sharp knife at edge of bowl to loosen custard.
  3. Place serving plate on top of bowl then flip and tap top of bowl to release custard.
  4. Repeat for each bowl.
  5. Garnish with orange slices and drizzle sauce over panna cotta and around dish.

Pina Colada Panna Cotta

 

Pina Cotta

Serves 8

 

1/4 cup Cold water

1 envelope
unflavored gelatin

2 cups Heavy Cream

3/4 Lite coconut milk

1/4 cup Milk

1/3 cup Sugar

pinch of salt

1 inch Vanilla bean or 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

 

Coconut Caramel Sauce

4 Tbsp butter

4 Tbsp sugar

1/4 Cup lite coconut milk

1 Tsp Rum

 

Directions

For Panna Cotta

  1. Sprinkle gelatin in
    quarter cup water and let rest.
  2. Over medium heat in heavy saucepan, whisk together coconut milk, milk, heavy cream, vanilla bean (if using vanilla extract wait for step 3), salt and sugar until mixture starts to a simmer.
  3. (If using vanilla extract, add now).  Continue whisking and turn off fire once bubbles start forming on sides of saucepan.
  4. Whisk in reserved gelatin till dissolved then remove from heat.
  5. Let rest for 5 minutes before pouring into individual bowls or forms.
  6. Refrigerate for 3-5 hours or overnight.

For Sauce

Everyone has their own version on how to make caramel sauce, but this has worked for me. I also used salted butter instead of non-salted.

 

  1. Place saucepan over a medium-low flame and melt sugar and butter without stirring for around 8-10 minutes.  During that time the mixture will look like the sugar and butter are separating then it will bubble up as it turns darker.  That is the caramelizing process taking place.
  2. Once the mixture turns a nice golden color, whisk in the coconut milk and continue whisking for another 3-5 more minutes.  (Notice how the mixture foams up and be careful not to cook it too long because the longer you keep it over the flame the harder it will get.)
  3. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

Putting it together

  1. Prepare a bowl or pan with hot water.
  2. One at a time, dip panna cotta bowl into hot water for 10 seconds then pass a sharp knife at edge of bowl to loosen custard.
  3. Place serving plate
    on top of bowl then flip and tap top of bowl to release custard.
  4. Repeat for each bowl.
  5. drizzle caramel sauce over panna cotta and around dish and garnish with pineapple, mango and kiwi slices.