Panna Cotta

Panna CottaJonathan planned a dinner to celebrate our engagement two years ago.  One of my favourite parts was the dessert – a delicious panna cotta, which I have been meaning to make in my own kitchen for a long time!  Panna Cotta is a tasty dessert that is silky and creamy with a hint of vanilla.  Panna cotta in Italian translates to ‘cooked cream’ and that’s enough to make me fall in love with the dessert.  Jonathan chose it as a dessert for our engagement dinner because of its flavour, silky texture and the added bonus that it’s nut free.

I decided to make this dessert yesterday and it turned out wonderfully.  The little blue bowls I used were a bridal shower gift from my friends Emily and Allee and they were perfect for this scrumptious little dessert.  The recipe I used was from the Joy of Baking website.  I used the recipe because I wanted a video to show me how to make one of my favourite desserts.  I also didn’t want to waste whipping cream!  The recipe turned out perfectly and I will make this recipe again soon I am sure.  The panna cotta is garnished with homemade blueberry jam, but you can use fresh fruit.

Now that I have had success with this recipe I have many other ideas for little desserts.  A particular family favourite are parfaits!  My Dad used to make them for us when we were little and we loved them.  My Dad has a copy of the Jell-o cookbook, but I will make my own jelly using plain gelatin and fresh juice from the juicer.  I saw a recipe for half apple and half pomegranate layered jelly desserts and it looks irresistible!Panna Cotta

Makes 6 individual servings.

Ingredients:

1 package (1/4 ounce) (7 grams) unflavored powdered gelatin

1/4 cup (60 ml) cold milk

2 1/4 cups (540 ml) heavy whipping cream

1/2 cup (60 grams) confectioners’ sugar (icing sugar)

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Blueberry jam or fruit for garnish

Instructions:

For this recipe you will need 6 half-cup dessert cups (little bowls or wine glasses are my favourite).

  1. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold milk in a small bowl.  Let the mixture sit for about 5 – 10 minutes. The idea is that the gelatin needs time to soften, swell, and become spongy.
  2. In a medium saucepan mix the cream and sugar.  Bring it just to a boil (or very hot with lots of steam coming off the top).  Stir well to dissolve the icing sugar.
  3. When the cream and sugar is very hot or just at boiling remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the gelatin mixture.
  4. Stir well until the gelatin is dissolved. If necessary, return the saucepan to the stove and stir over low heat (make sure you no longer see gelatin crystals). Stir in the vanilla extract at this point.
  5. Pour the cream into the dessert little bowls or wine glasses and place in the refrigerator. The panna cotta must chill for two to four hours, or until set.  Panna cotta can be made one to two days before serving.
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