Sunday, November 29, 2009

Panna Cotta

Panna cotta in Italian means "cooked cream" and comes from the Northern region of Piedmont in Italy. It's made by simmering together cream, milk and sugar, mixing this with gelatin, and letting it cool until set. Panna cotta is often served topped with caramel, strawberries or other wild berries or chocolate sauce. Have I mentioned that this dessert is Italian yet? My new favorite cuisine.

Panna Cotta is incredibly easy to make. If you're not a baker and are one of those people who always avoids making desserts, then this is a treat for you. It takes no more then 10 minutes and uses minimal dishes and fuss. And I guarantee your kitchen will not be covered in flour by the end.

This month's issue of Bon Appetit (December 2009) has a recipe for buttermilk panna cotta with cinnamon caramel sauce. It's refreshing twist to the classic caramel panna cotta. The recipe uses buttermilk in place of cream which adds a nice tangy flavour to the custard. It's still smooth and creamy in texture but with less calories. And who doesn't like that.

I found the Bon Appetit instructions for the gelatin a little confusing, which is rare because their recipes are always dependable. I've made the instructions below easier to follow provided you buy a box of Knox unflavoured original gelatin.

Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Cinnamon Caramel Sauce (serves 6)

Adapted from Bon Appetit, this dessert is incredibly simple to make. Plan for 10-15 minutes preparation and 3-4 hours cooling and setting in the fridge.

1 package Knox unflavoured gelatin
1 cup heavy whipping cream, divided
1/3 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
1/2 cup (packed) brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Prepare one package of gelatin according to package.

Combine 3/4 cup cream and 1/3 cup sugar in heavy small saucepan. Stir over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves and mixture just begins to simmer. Remove from heat. Add gelatin; stir until gelatin dissolves. Cool until warm, stirring occasionally. Stir in buttermilk and 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla. Divide among six 1/2-cup ramekins. Cover and refrigerate until set, 3-4 hours.

Just before serving, combine brown sugar and remaining 1/4 cup cream in small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and caramel sauce is smooth. Remove from heat; stir in cinnamon and remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Spoon slightly warm caramel sauce over each panna cotta and serve.

MORE ITALIAN RECIPES---------------------------------------------------------------------

Marinated Eggplant Antipasto
Bite-sized slices of eggplant, roasted and marinated in good quality olive oil, lemon juice, red chili, garlic and herbs.

Mushroom and Spinach Lasagna
An Italian classic with rich flavours of pasta, sauce, cheese, mushrooms and spinach. Immensely satisfying.

Italian meat loaf or meat balls seared in olive oil and finished in a sauce of caramelized red onions, reduced balsamic vinegar and tomatoes. You won't beleive how good this is until you try it!


Stephanie said...

Will try this recipe. I am also a fellow lover of Italian cuisine. Made it a point to eat dessert every night I spent there.

Melody Wey said...

Let me know if you have a favorite Italian cookbook or any websites. I must admit I had tiramisu in Italy more then just a few times:)