6 weeks ago I came back from a vacation that I am pretty sure changed me forever. I spent 3 amazing weeks in Italy. The history, the food, the wine, the art, the food, the architecture, the fashion – did I mention the food? – all of it was sublime. I miss it already.
It has been very hot in Toronto, and I wanted a dessert to cool me down. To trick my taste buds in to thinking I was back in Italy, I made Panna Cotta.
One of the things that made the food in Italy so good was the simplicity of it. A lot of dishes had only a handful of ingredients. The other was the quality of the ingredients used. It is no different in this recipe. Use real cream, use good vanilla. It will take the recipe from good to great.
1 packet of unflavoured gelatin
2 tablespoons of cold water
1/3 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups of heavy cream
1 cup of half and half
Materials: Dry measuring cups, liquid measuring cups, measuring spoons, small bowl, medium saucepan, wooden spoon, ramekins or other small dishes.
- In the saucepan bring cream, half and half, and sugar to a boil, while stirring, over medium heat.
- While waiting for the liquids to boil, empty gelatin in to the small bowl. Add water to the bowl, and mix the gelatin and water together. The gelatin will rehydrate, and puff up when soaking up the water. It’ll look like grainy jello.
- Remove the pan from the heat once it’s boiling. Add the rehydrated gelatin and vanilla to the cream mixture. Stir until the gelatin is all dissolved.
- Once gelatin is all dissolved, pour the mixture in to ramekins. Chill for at least 4 hours, but can be chilled overnight.
- So simple! The longest part of the recipe is waiting for the cream to boil.
If I close my eyes, I can almost imagine myself in Italy sitting outside eating them with an incredible glass of white wine.
To serve, either remove the Panna Cottas from the ramekins, or serve them still in the ramekins.
Let’s be honest, Panna Cotta is all about the consistency and the flavours that are put with it. You can add lemon juice or a liquer at the same as when you add the gelatin and vanilla. If you want to add a sauce instead of flavouring the Panna Cotta directly, the easiest thing to do is take a natural juice nectar (I used mango nectar), and 2 teaspoons of vanilla. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Chill sauce for a few hours.