Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta
For those of you wondering Panna Cotta, according to Wikipedia, is an Italian dessert made by simmering together milk, cream, sugar and gelatin. Now, if I was to describe Panna Cotta to someone I would tell them its like if Jello was made with milk and was flavored vanilla, and had a less jiggly texture. I decided to make Panna Cotta because I wanted to try something different. I have been feeling more or less bored with baking. Although, cookies and cupcakes are my favorite desserts, they aren't exactly challenging. And even though, Panna Cotta is not difficult by any means, it is different, so I had to try it.
I used the recipe I found from Joy of Baking. I have mentioned that website before because there recipes are usually straightforward, come with a history of the dish (which is a personal favorite), and usually come out as expected. The recipe for Panna Cotta is no different. The only thing I changed was that I used vanilla bean paste to give the wonderful specks of vanilla bean seeds and make it extra luxe.
I molded it in silicone baking cups for ease of removal, although they did come out with those tell-tale lines. It took about 8 silicone muffin cups completly full to use all the mixture. I also did not use heavy cream, and instead used half and half mixed with whole milk, simply because I had no heavy cream.
I have to admit the Panna Cotta's were a little bland, and not very sweet. Some people like that they are not sweet, but I have a strong sweet tooth so it was lacking for me. Next time, I would probably make a flavored version like the Espresso Panna Cotta I almost made. To combat, the blandness I made a blackberry sauce, that was surprisingly simple. So after washing the very tart blackberries, I added sugar (maybe 1/8-1/4 cup) to them in a bowl. The sugar drew the water out of the blackberries making a sour/sweet fruit sauce in about 3 hours. I then drizzled the sauce over the Panna Cotta with a few blackberries. It really livened it up.
Recipe from Joy of Baking