Lemon, vanilla and berries. You can't really do any wrong with these flavor combinations. The Italians get that. Many of their desserts are small-form, light and not too sweet. And many of their desserts involve these great flavor combinations. They really have nailed the formula for guilt-free desserts. One of the many Italian sweets that is well-known to everybody is panna cotta. In case you have to brush up on your Italian, panna cotta translates to "cooked cream." And guess what, that's exactly what panna cotta is. It's just cooked cream, milk and some other goodies. Very simple and very delicious. Now, one of the key ingredients in panna cotta is gelatin. You need the gelatin to help set the cream. Many of you may not be able to use gelatin, due to it not being available or maybe religious/moral reasons. Well, luckily for you, there are other options. They do sell halal beef powdered gelatin for all the Muslims out there. You can also use agar agar. This is a natural vegetable counterpart. It will help firm up and set the panna cotta, but you don't have to worry about it coming from an animal. As you see, there are many options when it comes to gelatin and gelatin substitutes. So, don't let that stop you from making this very easy and tasty dessert. Great for a rewarding sweet for yourself or for entertaining guests.
We'll need granulated sugar and gelatin.
Lemon and vanilla.
Lastly, heavy cream.
Start by sprinkling the gelatin over the top of the cold milk. Make sure all the gelatin is coated in milk and let it sit and bloom for about five minutes.
Next, combine the sugar, heavy cream and vanilla in a sauce pan that has a thick bottom.
Scald mixture. Don't boil! Whisk until combined. Take it off the heat and add in the bloomed gelatin and whisk until dissolved. Also, add in the lemon juice and whisk to combine.
Pour into containers and let it come to room temperature for about 15 minutes. Wrap in saran and refrigerate and chill for four hours to overnight.
After they're set, unmold by placing the container in a bowl of very hot water for a minute or two. Go around the sides with an off-set spatula and use a blow torch if needed. Give it a shake or two on the plate and that should help unmold it as well.
Serve with some berries and sauce and enjoy!
See how I do it:
- 1 ½ C heavy cream
- 2.5 oz granulated sugar
- ½ t vanilla extract or paste
- 7.5 grams gelatin or agar agar
- ½ c milk
- 2.5 oz lemon juice
Bloom the gelatin in the cold milk.
In a thick bottom pot, scald the cream, sugar and vanilla. Don't boil!
Remove from heat and stir in the bloomed gelatin.
Stir in lemon juice.
Pour into molds or containers and let it cool for about 15 minutes.
Refrigerate and chill until set. Anywhere from four hours to overnight.