Pana Cotta

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Panna Cotta literally translates as "cooked cream" in Italian. These softly set and creamy Italian puddings are so silky-smooth they slip down beautifully at the end of a meal. Perfect served with fresh berries or fruits according to the season. They are also perfect for dinner parties because they can be made a day or two in advance and kept refrigerated until ready to be served.
Ingredients
1 envelope unflavored gelatin (approx. 2 teaspoons)
1/2 cup milk
2 1/2 cups cups heavy cream*
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean or 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup fresh berries, gently washed, drained, and sweetened to taste**
6 sprigs fresh mint
 
Directions
1. In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 1/2 cup milk; let stand until the gelatin is softened, about 5 minutes. (I just follow the directions on the gelatin packet)

2. In a large saucepan, combine heavy cream and sugar. Add vanilla extract or vanilla bean. If using a vanilla bean, slice the bean lengthwise and scrape out seeds into cream (add whole bean to cream for additional flavor). Bring cream just to a simmer (do not let it boil), whisking occasionally until sugar has completely dissolved; remove from heat and remove vanilla bean pod. Add the softened gelatin mixture and whisk to completely dissolve the gelatin.

3. Strain hot cream mixture into a large glass measuring cup with a pouring spout; pour into ramekins or custard cups. NOTE: Don't skip the straining step as it removes any bits of undissolved gelatin and insures a nice smooth dessert. Also, don't let the cream mixture cool before straining. If using a vanilla bean, lightly swirl the cream to distribute the seeds evenly. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
4. To unmold and serve, carefully dip bottom of each ramekin in a baking pan of hot water briefly. Run a thin knife around edge of each ramekin to loosen it from the inside of the bowl. Wipe the outside of the mold dry and place on individual chilled serving plate (topside down). Invert the custard onto the plate and carefully lift off ramekin (shake gently to release). Garnish with berries or fruit of your choice. See Topping Variations below.

Makes 4 to 6 servings (depending on size of the custard cups).

 
Notes:
*Half & half, buttermilk, whole milk, and/or sour cream may be substituted for part of the cream.

**Any assortment of fresh, seasonal fruit may be served with panna cotta, but berries are especially nice. To use other ripe, soft fruits, such as cherries, peaches or apricots, just remove the stones and peels as necessary and cut them into thin slices or bite-size pieces.

Categories:
Cuisine   ItalianDish   Dessert
Cooking Method   SimmerStyle   Gourmet
Prep Time   less than 15 minutesCooking Time   less than 15 minutes
Features   Vegetarian, Wheat/Gluten-Free




Ritu Bahadur

Member since Jul 2010

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