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Friday, August 22, 2008

Panna Cotta (Italian Custard)

This is from my Everyday Italian by Giada De Laurentis. I like this dessert because it is perfect for a party, you can make it ahead and have them resting in the refrigerator just waiting to be topped with some fresh berries! Think of it as the Italian version of Creme Brulee or Flan. But unlike Crème Brûlée, Panna Cotta is very simple to make due to the gelatin.

Panna Cotta
Giada De Laurentiis
• 1 cup whole milk
• 1 tablespoon gelatin (unflavored)
• 3 cups heavy whipping cream
• 1/3 cup honey
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1 pinch salt
• 2 cups assorted fresh berries
• Place the milk in a small bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over. Let stand for 3 to 5 minutes to soften the gelatin.
1. Pour milk mixture into a heavy saucepan and stir over medium heat just until the gelatin dissolves but the milk does not boil, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the cream, honey, sugar, and salt. Stir until the sugar dissolves, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat.
3. Pour into 6 wine glasses so that they are 1/2 full. Cool slightly. Refrigerate until set, at least 6 hours.
4. Spoon the berries atop the panna cotta and serve.

Espresso Panna Cotta
½ cup whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3 heaping teaspoons instant espresso powder
1/4 cup sugar
Pinch salt
1 small white chocolate bar, for garnishing
1 small dark chocolate bar, for garnishing
Place the milk in a heavy, small saucepan. Sprinkle the gelatin over and let stand for 5 minutes to soften the gelatin. Stir over medium heat just until the gelatin dissolves, but the milk does not boil, about 2 minutes. Add the cream, espresso powder, sugar, and salt. Stir over low heat, until the sugar dissolves, about 3 more minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Pour the cream mixture into 2 martini glasses, dividing equally. Cover and refrigerate, stirring every 20 minutes during the first hour. Chill until set, at least 6 hours and up to 2 days.
When ready to serve, use a vegetable peeler on the chocolate blocks to create about 1 tablespoon each of the white and dark chocolate shavings. Sprinkle the shavings over each panna cotta and serve.

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