Friday, April 13, 2007

Recipe of the Week

It's the perfect time to make panna cotta now that berries are coming back in season. Panna cotta is an easy dessert to mess up, but if you get it right there is nothing here on this earth closer to a little piece of heaven. This recipe is foolproof if you follow it to the letter. It's the perfect recipe for entertaining because it can be made up to a day ahead.

Panna cotta translated from Italian means "cooked cream." It's a very simple recipe with only six ingredients. It's the perfect centerpiece for a variety of flavors, my favorite being raspberry. Puree some fresh raspberries, season to taste with sugar, and strain for a prefect sauce to spoon around the unmolded panna cotta. Bon appetito!

Classic Panna Cotta
Serves 8
From Cook's Illustarted

Serve panna cotta very cold with strawberry or raspberry sauce or lightly sweetened berries. Though traditionally unmolded, panna cotta may be chilled and served in wine glasses and sauced on top. If you would like to make the panna cotta a day ahead, decrease the gelatin to 2 5/8 teaspoons (2 ½ teaspoons plus 1/8 teaspoon), and chill the filled wine glasses or ramekins for 18 to 24 hours.

1 cup whole milk
2 ¾ teaspoons gelatin
3 cups heavy cream
1 piece vanilla bean, 2 inches long, slit lengthwise with a paring knife (or substitute 2 teaspoons extract)
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
Pinch salt

1. Pour milk into a medium saucepan; sprinkle surface evenly with gelatin and let stand 10 minutes to hydrate gelatin. Meanwhile, turn contents of two ice cube trays (about 32 cubes) into large bowl; add 4 cups cold water. Measure cream into large measuring cup or pitcher. With paring knife, scrape vanilla seeds into cream; place pod in cream along with seeds and set mixture aside. Set eight wine glasses or 4-ounce ramekins on baking sheet.

2. Heat milk and gelatin mixture over high heat, stirring constantly, until gelatin is dissolved and mixture registers 135 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 1 ½ minutes. Off heat, add sugar and salt; stir until dissolved, about 1 minute.

3. Stirring constantly, slowly pour cream with vanilla into saucepan containing milk, then transfer mixture to medium bowl and set bowl over ice water bath. Stir frequently until thickened to the consistency of eggnog and mixture registers 50 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 10 minutes. Strain mixture into large measuring cup or pitcher, then distribute evenly among wine glasses or ramekins. Cover baking sheets with plastic wrap, making sure that plastic does not mar surface of cream; refrigerate until just set (mixture should wobble when shaken gently), 4 hours.

4. Serve panna cotta in wine glasses, or, following steps 1 through 4 below, unmold panna cotta from ramekins and serve immediately.

Unmolding Panna Cotta

1. Pour one cup of boiling water into a small wide-mouthed bowl, dip ramekin into the water, count to three, and lift the ramekin out of the water.

2. With a moistened finger, press lightly around the periphery of the cream to loosen the edges. Dip the ramekin back into the water for another three count.

3. Invert the ramekin over your pal, and loosen the cream by cupping your fingers between the cream and the edges of the ramekin.

4. Gently lower the cream onto the plate.

(Picture from Martha Stewart)

1 comment:

Paula K said...

I've been thinking about making panna cotta lately. Your blog is the best ever!