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Panna Cotta - Italian cooked cream

05 September 2014 / 07:09:27  GRReporter
3325 reads

Danielle Lachana


One of the most well-known Italian deserts outside Italy, alongside Tiramisu, has to be ''Panna Cotta'', which literally means ''Cooked Cream''. The name comes from the fact that this dessert was generally made with 100% double cream ('Panna'), although today many versions use half milk - half cream and/or yoghurt for a ''lighter version'', not to mention the newer arrivals containing buttermilk, or those with a heavy percentage of dark or white chocolate. However that may be, I still prefer the more traditional variety that was originally served plain or accompanied by mixed wild berries (forest fruits). As regards an accompaniment, along the berries theme, a fruit puree or 'coulis,' especially one made from raspberries (as in today's recipe), or strawberries, is wonderful for the summer, whereas a dark chocolate or caramel sauce is perfect in the winter.

Although few ingredients are used, the success of the recipe lies in the consistency of the finished dessert. The panna cotta should be just set and silky smooth with a little wobble. This all depends on the kind, quality and quantity of gelatine used but even if the dessert comes out a little stiffer the taste will still be worth it. Although 1 tsp vanilla essence can be substituted for the fresh vanilla pod, as in all recipes based on only a few ingredients, it really is worthwhile trying to use the 'real thing'.



(Serves 8)





For the Panna Cotta

Pour the cream into a thick-bottomed saucepan and add the icing sugar and vanilla pod. Heat stirring frequently until the sugar has dissolved, until just under boiling point (92o F if you have a sugar thermometer).

Meanwhile soak the gelatine in the milk so that it softens, then squeeze it dry.

 Just before the cream boils,  remove the pan from the heat and discard the vanilla pod. Add the gelatine, stirring to dissolve. Strain the mixture through a sieve.

Pour into one large bowl or several smaller ones - if you have jelly moulds these make for an attractive serving presentation.


Leave to cool before transferring to the fridge. Chill for at least 4 hours.


For the Raspberry Sauce



Use more or less sugar, depending on how tart you like your sauce. Raspberries, especially, make a good contrast with the sweet and rich panna cotta.

Gently clean the raspberries then puree them in a blender together with the other ingredients (or pass the fruit through a sieve before mixing thoroughly with the other ingredients).


To Serve

If using individual moulds, dip the base -  for a couple of seconds only - into very hot water then invert the mould on to the serving plate to release the panna cotta. Pour the raspberry sauce around and decorate with fresh forest fruits, if liked.

If using one large bowl, pour the raspberry sauce over the top to serve.


Buon Appetito!  Enjoy!

Tags: Panna Cotta Mediterranean Recipes Cooked Cream Italian desserts
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