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Panna cotta is a classic dessert for many due to its smooth and melt-in-the-mouth texture. Every panna cotta will have its own unique spectrum of flavour depending on the type of dairy used and the flavours added. While this delicate dessert may seem like it would take years of culinary training, you can impress guests in no time by following our simple panna cotta recipe.
While it is easy enough to make, there is a process to creating a great-tasting panna cotta. The following recipes require you to follow a 4-part preparation method. Don’t worry though. While this may seem cumbersome, each step only requires 10 minutes or less.
A Brief History of Panna Cotta and How to Best Enjoy It
A panna cotta dessert has a rather interesting history. The dessert is a traditional Italian confectionery hailing from the region called Piedmont in Italy. The name, when translated from Italian, means“cooked cream.” It is an easy-to-make treat that is a mixture of gelatine and sweetened cream.
The combination of panna cotta’s sourness along with a wine containing an aromatic sweetness, such as an orange muscat wine, perfectly creates that balance that sets off a variety of flavours.
Apple Sour Jelly
The first step is to make the Apple Sour Jelly. This jelly will later be added when making your panna cotta.
The sour taste provided by our Apple Sour Jelly adds a distinct flavour and texture to the panna cotta. It serves to balance the richness of the cream and provide a unique fruity taste to the dessert. Not to mention that the sour relish gives the panna cotta a refreshing taste.
Here’s how it’s done.
- 440g clear apple juice
- 60g lemon juice
- 20g Basil
- 25g powdered gelatine (vegetal)
- 2g Agar Agar
- Bring the lemon juice to boil.
- Roughly tear the basil leaves and put them in a small bowl.
- Pour the lemon juice over the basil leaves and let steep for at least 15 minutes.
- Pour the apple juice into a small saucepan and sprinkle the gelatine over its surface.
- Let the gelatine soften for 5 minutes, add the agar-agar and bring the pan over medium heat to a boil, stirring frequently, until the gelatine is fully dissolved- for about a minute. Turn off the heat.
- Strain the basil out of the lemon juice and whisk the juice into the gelatine mixture. Pour the liquid into a deep dish.
- Refrigerate for 2 hours, or until softly set.
Honey Panna Cotta
The cream part of the dessert is made with 4 simple ingredients listed below. Methodically follow this to create the perfect base for your dessert. Add in the apple sour jelly to add texture and flavour to the cream.
- 400g single cream
- 40g honey
- 1 vanilla pod, scraped out
- 1.6g agar-agar
- Prepare a flat dish lined with cling film.
- Place the cream, honey, vanilla and agar in a saucepan over medium to high heat and bring to a gentle simmer for about 2-3min, stirring frequently.
- Let the mixture cool down a little and pour it into the prepared flat dish covered with cling film
- Place in fridge until fully set.
Panna cotta is not complete without this mouth-watering caramel. The bubbly and crunch honey comb dramatically adds flavour and texture to the entire panna cotta experience.
Break the honeycomb into small chunks and scattery it around the panna cotta to make it look fancier.
- 130g sugar
- 50g glucose
- 25g honey
- 8g bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- Make a caramel with sugar, glucose, and honey. Heat until approximately 150°C. Make sure you use a sugar thermometer.
- When the caramel has a golden colour, whisk in the baking soda – it will bloom fast!
- Pour the honeycomb onto a tray lined with greaseproof paper.
- Allow to cool completely and cure before use.
Marshmallows are not a traditional ingredient in panna cotta and one can enjoy this dessert without this added ingredient. However, marshmallows add an airy texture and provide a subtle, sweet flavour that blends well with the sour ingredients in the dessert.
The qualities of marshmallows help to attribute contrast and texture to your already delicious and creamy panna cotta.
Here’s how you make the marshmallow.
- 70g water
- 2.5g agar powder
- 40g sugar
- 40g Golden syrup
- 240g chickpea brine (aquafaba)
- Pinch xanthan gum
- 1g Cream of Tatar
- 1 vanilla pod, scraped out
- Prepare a flat deep dish with parchment paper or cling film.
- Make sure the whole bottom is covered.
- In a small saucepan, combine water and agar agar. Bring to a boil for about 3min, stirring frequently
- Add sugar and golden syrup and simmer for 6-8 more minutes. (Be careful not to cook too hot or it will burn or caramelise.
- While the syrup is still simmering, combine aquafaba, xanthan gum, and cream of tartar in a kitchen-aid mixing bowl (alternately mixed by hand, but that’s a proper workout 😊)
- Whisk for about 8 minutes with the ball attachment (or whisk if mixed by hand), then add scraped vanilla and beat for another 3 minutes or until the mixture is very stiff.
- Set the mixer to low speed, and carefully pour the hot syrup into the mixture while still beating. The mixture should not deflate but stay fluffy and a little shiny.
- Carefully pour the marshmallow mixture into a tray. Let cool for two hours (at room temperature, not in the fridge!) or until set.
- Cut out the desired shape and store it in an airtight container.
- Dust with icing, sugar, or any other dust like yoghurt or milk before serving.
Remember that you can add other ingredients like fruits, granola, candies, and other garnishes that you like.
You can toast the marshmallow lightly to add colour, depth, and flavour to the dessert. Toasting the marshmallow brings out an earthy flavour and makes the honeyed cream unique and special.
Panna cotta should be stored in a freezer. Defrost it for at least 30 minutes before serving. This dessert is great to serve to your loved ones or to someone special. Enjoy!