This is an easy but SUPERRR LUSH dessert, made with just 3 ingredients! Yes, that’s right, you need just 3 main ingredients to make a basic Panna Cotta. If you want to know how I made mine, keep reading!
I think I have to say this first-
With this dessert, I have officially thrown my ‘healthy-eating-before-I-go-for-a-vacation’ plan out of the window. But, I guess, it’s OK. It is my husband’s birthday, Canada day and a long weekend….this definitely calls for some dessert! Also, this is not just any dessert, this Vanilla Panna Cotta or any Panna Cotta for that matter, is my ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE dessert in the world.
‘Panna Cotta’ is an Italian pudding made with sweetened cream and gelatin. It could also be described as ‘cooked cream’-although there isn’t a lot of heat applied in the preparation. The cream is just warm enough to allow the gelatin to dissolve easily. Heating the cream has no other advantage.
A ‘traditional’ Panna Cotta is sweetened cream set with gelatin in a mould and refrigerated till the pudding is well set. To serve the panna cotta, the mould is dipped in hot water for a few seconds (to loosen the set cream on the sides) and then, it is inverted onto a serving plate. A perfectly set panna cotta will hold its shape but JIGGLE and WOBBLE when touched. Just like Jell-O. I think the Creamy texture and the ‘Wobble’ is the whole charm of eating a Panna Cotta! Also, its delicious! Anyway, once unmoulded, you can go in so many directions with the topping and garnishes. Most common is to garnish it with some form of fruit or chocolate.
I flavoured my panna cotta with pure vanilla extract and topped it with grated and shaved chocolate.
Using Gelatin- I used to be intimidated with using gelatin but it’s SO simple-you just need to follow the instructions to figure out how much gelatin needs to be used, to set a certain amount of cream. It will definitely differ with each brand and the kind of gelatin you are using. There are gelatin powders as well as gelatin sheets available in the markets. Today, I used gelatin sheets to set my panna cotta. The package instructions were to use 3 sheets of gelatin for 450 ml of cream (roughly 2 tea cups). Also, a little more or less cream won’t spoil your pudding, so be confident and GO for it!
Cream- Most recipes call for Double cream (Thickest cream-48% fat) but I used Whipping cream (relatively lighter-36% fat). You cannot use low-fat milk or less fatty cream for this. The texture wont be the same at all. You may be able to use whole milk (full fat) to make your panna cotta, but since I haven’t tried it, I can’t recommend it.
Now, for the recipe!
Makes 3 servings
Prep time- 2 minutes
Total time- 10 minutes + Setting time (up to 4 hours)
If you want to set the panna cotta in a cup and serve it as it is, 2-4 hours is enough time for it to set. If you want to unmould it, 4-8 hours is recommended although overnight is most preferred.
- Whipping cream- 450 ml
- Granulated sugar- 65 grams or 1/3 cup sugar
- Vanilla- 1 tsp vanilla extract or essence (you can also use 1 whole vanilla pod)
- Gelatin- 3 sheets of gelatin OR 1 Tbsp of gelatin powder
- Chocolate- ½ a bar of chocolate; grated and shaved
- First place the 3 sheets of gelatin in a bowl with some cold water- just enough water to soak the sheets. Leave for 10-12 minutes.
- In that time, place a small deep bottomed pan on low-medium heat. Add the 450 ml of cream and sugar to it and keep swirling the pan. You want to dissolve the sugar but don’t want to let the cream boil over or get burnt on the base of the pan.
- When the sugar has dissolved and the cream is warmed through, remove from the heat. You can keep swirling the pan to help the cream cool faster. Once, it’s cool enough for you to dip your finger in the liquid, add the vanilla extract to it and set aside.
- By this time, the gelatin sheets would have become all gloppy and gelatine-y. Squeeze the water from the gelatin and add it to the slightly warm cream mixture. Stir the gelatin till it dissolves in the cream.
- Strain the cream mixture through a sieve into cups or ramekins. Refrigerate these cups for 2-3 hours-although mine set in 1.5 hours. Once, the pudding is set, you can proceed to jazz it up with toppings of your choice. I just sprinkled grated and shaved chocolate before serving mine. ENJOY!
I just love this dessert. I highly, highly recommend that you try this recipe soon. It is light, not too sweet and just decadent enough for you to keep thinking about it. Jokes aside, I know you will love it, I promise!
If you try it, do let me know if you like it.
As always, thank you for coming over to my blog. Stay sweet and take care!