The first time I had the pleasure of meeting this delight to the palate, containing texture and flavor with which we are now on a first name basis, was on a Princess cruise. My palate had met this beauty many times before, but did not know its name, until it was introduced to me as one of the trios of ‘ménage à trois’, panna cotta!
Panna cotta, Italian for ‘cooked cream’ is an Italian dessert. It is not known exactly how or when this dessert was introduced. However, some theories maintain that cream, for which mountainous Northern Italy is famous, was historically eaten plain or sweetened with fruit or hazelnuts. Earlier recipes for the dish did not directly mention gelatin, but instead included a step in which fish bones were boiled. This process is now known to extract collagen, which turns to gelatin, from the bones. Sugar, later a main ingredient, would not have been widely available as it was an expensive, imported commodity. This treat evolved into what is now a gelatin dessert, flavored with vanilla and topped with fruit or spices, and served chilled.
Although it will taste divine prepared in its traditional/original recipe of straight forward using heavy-cream, panna cotta will be too rich for today’s health-conscious diets. I used half the amount of heavy-cream here and substitute the other half with whole-milk and flavoring ingredient such as Satsuma mandarin juice, still keeping the integrity of the dessert, not just another gelatin.
Panna Cotta, Satsuma mandarin flavored
Recipe by: Fae’s Twist & Tango (fae-magazine.com)
• 7 gr / ¼ oz / 2¼ tsp unflavored, powdered gelatin -or- 2¼ tsp / 4.5 gr agar-agar
• ¾ cup / 180 ml cold whole-milk, divided into ¼ cups & ½ cup
• 1¼ cups / 300 ml heavy whipping cream
• ½ cup / 100 gr granulated sugar
• ½ cup / 120 ml cold, fresh squeezed, Satsuma mandarin juice
• ½ tsp rosewater -or- I used ¼ tsp orange blossom water ( either optional)
◊ To make plain panna cotta, replace Satsuma mandarin juice with whole-milk or cream and flavor with pure vanilla extract.
◊ To make vegan version, use non-dairy cream and milk of choice.
◊ Have ready, six 4 oz / 120 ml (1/2 cup) -or- eight 3 oz / 90 ml custard cups, ramekins, ceramic bowls, dessert glasses -or- Dixie paper cups may be used (for smaller desserts, bathroom-cup size is actually perfect); see illustrations in the photos (I cut larger cups for 1/2 cup size panna cotta ).
– Lightly oil molds with a neutral-tasting oil/non-stick spray.
– If being served in a dessert serving glass or cup, this is not necessary.
– As for paper cups, greasing is not a necessary (but will not hurt). When ready to serve, insert thin narrow knife from the side and while rotating the cup, use knife to push back paper cup walls away from the panna cotta. It should slide right out.
◊ In a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin powder over 1/4 cup cold milk, mix and let bloom for 10 minutes.
◊ Meanwhile, in a small/medium saucepan, on medium-heat, heat heavy cream and sugar, stirring until sugar is dissolved and very hot, not boiling. Add bloomed gelatin and stir constantly, until gelatin is completely melted. Remove from heat.
◊ Pour in the remaining ½ cup cold whole-milk, ½ cup cold Satsuma mandarin juice, rosewater, and stir well. Immediately pour into prepared molds. Put on a tray and chill in refrigerator for 2~4 hours or until fully set, or overnight is better. Dessert may be made in advance and should retain freshness in refrigerator for three days. Garnish/serve with fruits or fruit sauce.
~ Buon Appetito! ~
So, what’s cooking in your kitchen?