Prep/Cook: 20 mins (including blooming time for the Gelatin) Freeze: 6-8 hours Yields: 5 Panna Cottas of ~100 ml each Level: Beginner
My husband and I have polar opposite tastes in food and cravings. If I need a strong cup of Black Coffee at 4 pm as a pick me up then my husband opts for a milky and frothy cuppa. If I crave a pizza then he will invariably want Tandoori Chicken (we do converge on Pepperoni on pizza but that’s a story for another time) and honest to God I prefer raw capsicum but cooked tomatoes while for him its vice-versa. Thus whenever I am cooking or baking something special, I need to take into consideration both of our preferences else one of us has to compromise. Therefore, I am always looking to find recipes that can easily be manipulated into many variations depending on one’s preference. And my Basic Vanilla Panna Cotta is one such multi-tasker.
This Panna Cotta recipe is the base for many chocolatey or fruity variations – its like the Vanilla Ice Cream of the Ice Cream world that makes for the base of many ice-cream sundaes. Fundamentally, Panna Cotta is very easy to make and it is hardly a cooked dessert. What I mean by “hardly cooked” is that it really needs no baking and hardly any time on the flame, it is more about setting and cooling. The real skill behind a perfect Panna Cotta is knowing your gelatin well and calculating the exact amount that is required for your recipe.
Panna Cotta can be prepared beforehand and it can stay “fresh” for upto 5 days in the refrigerator if covered with a plastic wrap to keep other “fridge odors” out. One can also freeze Panna Cotta but you must remember to defrost it in the fridge (overnight), if you defrost your panna cotta out in the open, the final texture could be all over the place. My recipe of the Panna Cotta uses milk as well as cream but you can always skip the cream and use only milk for a lighter dessert 🙂
- Toned Milk (any milk is fine) – 400 ml
- Cream (I have used Amul Cream) – 250 ml
- Sugar – 5 tbsp (please adjust according to taste)
- Gelatin Powder – 1 tbsp
- Water – 100 ml
- Vanilla Essence – 11 drops
Sprinkle gelatin on cold water and let it stand for 5 mins
While the gelatin in blooming, heat the milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Do not let it boil, only simmer
Add cream to the simmering milk and keep stirring over low heat. Do not boil.
Add sugar and vanilla essence to the cream+milk and keep stirring till the sugar has fully dissolved.
Switch off the flame.
Mix in the gelatin into the Panna Cotta mixture. Keep stirring to ensure that all of the gelatin has dissolved.
Let the Panna Cotta mixture cool down a little. Once the mixture has cooled considerably, pour them into ramekins or bowls.
Remember to use bowls from which de-moulding is easy.
Place the bowls of liquid Panna Cotta in the refrigerator to set for 6-8 hours (or overnight).
Once your Panna Cotta has set, you can de-mould it by dipping the bowls/ramekins in hot water for 5 seconds. You will need to then take a knife around the edge of the Panna Cotta and then gently “slip” the Panna Cotta onto your serving plate.
I love my Panna Cotta with a tangy-fruity coulis and I have used a Rum & Mango Coulis. My husband prefers it with lots and lots of chocolate as you may have guessed by now!
The perfect Panna-Cotta is jiggly. It should look delicate, as if it would fall apart when touched but should not.