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Benvenuti al Tutti!

Welcome to Luigi's Tastes of Italy

This blog is my small dedication to Italian cooking, and is abolutely 100% free of pretentiousness, complicated ingredients, or any effort to present Italian cuisine as anything other than it really is, very simple.

Hope you enjoy reading my posts and maybe trying out some of the recipes.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Panna Cotta (Cooked Cream Dessert)

Whenever we are dining out, or visiting family. I suddenly for some strange reason, break out in feelings of guilt for eating rich foods in quantity, so wishing not to appear greedy, more often than not I decline the dessert course.

And I usually make the quite shocking claim of:
"I don't do desserts".

Whenever I utter those words however, it always later causes fits of giggles, and teasing, from my other half when we get home. Sometimes lasting days.

The reason for her cruel laughter, and mockery, is that whenever there is any leftover sweet desserts such as Sticky Toffee Pudding, Treacle Sponge, or Chocolate Cake in the fridge at home. It always dissapears quite quickly. In fact it dissapears almost instantly.

Assuming quite correctly then, that the cat is unable to open the refridgerator, it does not take Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, or Sherlock Holmes to deduce that it only leaves me as the possible culprit.

So for someone who does not do desserts, it might come as a surprise that I am blogging about a favourite Italian dessert, called panna cotta.

Panna cotta literally means cooked cream. In essensce that is precisely what it is. Normally I serve it with some kind of contrasting flavour. Generally raspberries, lightly cooked down with a little sugar, and a dash of lemon juice. In the variation given here, I add some rind from oranges and lemons, and a dash of orange liquor (Cointreau or Triple Sec is fine).

The only recommendation I have for the ingredients, is to try and source gelatin sheets (leaf), rather than powder. Although the powder works just fine. It is a little more variable in the results it produces, sometimes creating 'panna rocka' instead of 'panna cotta'. Using the sheets, I have always had excellent results, and very creamy just set, textures.

Many other recipes I have seen call for lining the ramekins with cling film, in my opinion a waste of time and money. By simply placing the finished rammekins in a little hot water for 10 seconds prior to serving, they "turn out" easily.

(serves 4)

Panna Cotta
1 pint double cream, or measure enough to fill 4 rammekins, since sizes vary.
2 ounces sugar
a few drops of vanilla essence, or some vanilla pod scrapings if your posh!
the zest of an orange and a lemon, finely diced up, around a tablespoon in quantity.
2 and a half gelatin sheets (leaf), but check quantity needed on packet, it may vary.
(If gelatin sheets/leaf is unavailable, powder will do fine)
1 teaspoon of orange liquore such as Cointreau or Triple Sec

Raspberry Sauce
5 ounces of frozen raspberries
2 teaspoons of sugar
squeeze of lemon juice
a little water


Panna Cotta

-In a saucepan over a medium heat, add all the ingredients EXCEPT for the gelatin sheets, and half the rind. Heat up until almost at boiling point, but DO NOT let it boil. So give it your attention. Then simmer away gently for around 10 minutes.

-Meanwhile soften the gelatin sheets in some water, refer to the packet for full instructions as it may vary. Essentially though you are just making them pliable before putting them into the cream mixture in a few moments.

-Once the cream mixture has simmered away for 10 or so minutes, remove from the heat and set aside.

-Put the gelatin sheets in a clean bowl, and onto it pour the still hot cream mixture, then proceed to stir until the gelatin has dissolved completly. Normally this will take a few minutes, so be patient.

-Arrange 4 ramekins, so that you have some space to pour in the mixture.  Into each ramekin, sprinkle a few of the remaining rinds. Then proceed to pour in the mixture, distributing it, evenly between the four rammekins.

-Next place these into the fridge, and leave to set for 2 or 3 hours.

Rasperry Sauce

-Into a pan, throw in all the ingrdients, and heat through. I normally like them quite whole, but if you want more you could use a spoon and mash some of the raspberries. Using frozen ones is ideal, because freezing them breaks down the cell strucutre, and allows them to mush down very quickly.

-Once your happy, add a little water to loosen if needed, and set aside allowing to cool.


Once your ready to serve, place your ramekins into a shallow dish of hot water, so that it comes up most of the sides. Obviously be careful not to flood the top!  After about 10 seconds, remove them, and turn them upside down over a plate and they will with a little shake, plop out easily, and hopefully in one piece. I prefer this rather than clingfilm, because they look more rustic, and I don't waste food wrap.

Yes its that time for another photo disaster. Although it gives an approximte idea, of what it will look like.

As can be seen, you then just spoon around your raspberries and juice, and consume. I can promise you that the combination of sharp and sweet is lovely. But then again I don't do desserts, so I would not know. Enjoy!


Joanne said...

I am all about homemade desserts but typically don't ever order dessert out. First of all, I am usually too full. Second of all, it is usually just too rich. Why should I pay for something I can only take three bites of?

This panna cotta looks quite delicious. I've never had panna cotta, shockingly (and I am someone who definitely does desserts), but I will have to try it soon!

Fausta said...

simply delicious!

Mari said...

WOW that looks amazing! it looks thick like Flan which I love so I am sure this tastes just as good if not better!

I am sitting here craving something sweet and this post did not help!


Reneé DeLano said...

Looks fantastic Luigi!!!

Alma said...

I love know that. hahaha

Micaela said...

ciao Luigi e buon anno!!! che buona la panna cotta, ne mangerei un quantitativo enorme!!! :-)

Heidi said...

This looks divine!! Never heard of gelatin sheets though... very interesting :)

natalia said...

Ciao ! I miei figli amano la panna cotta ! Proverò la tua ricetta !!

Vanillastrawberryspringfields said...

A blog with all italian fantastic recipes----squeals in delight----love this recipe but love that cute red rasberry pic more-a beautiful close up-what mode do u click that on(thats another way i wonder aloud what cam u shoot with?)

Lady Boheme said...

Ciao Luigi, I love panna cotta, your recipe is fantastic!

Chow and Chatter said...

looks awesome love your blog you so funny, and learning a lot from you lol Rebecca

Erica said...

This panna cotta sounds delicious! I've never had panna cotta, but I will try your recipe soon!

Kim said...

I've never had panna cotta, but I know it would be delicious (especially with raspberries, which are a favorite of mine). I wish I could find those gelatin sheets here. It looks delicious!!

tasteofbeirut said...

I don't know a soul on this planet who can resist panna cotta. My son is one guy who adores it no matter how full he is he always orders it at our favorite Italian joint!

Donna said...

Well, I most definatly do desserts! I've never had Panna Cotta, but I will be trying it this weekend for sure!

Tania said...

Raspberry sauce is a delicious idea, fantastic dessert!

Tien said...

I have the gelatin powder. Would 2 tsp be enough for 1 pint of cream? -Tien

Luigi said...

Thank you to everyone who commented. You are all too kind.

Hello Tien, As I understand it, 4 sheets are equivalent to approx 11g of the gelatin powder. So two teaspoons (10g approx), actually just under should be enough. I would recommend you read the packet as well though, because by adding too much, it will be to firm.

Sook said...

That looks divine! What a elegant looking dessert! I want some! :)

Patrycjaa said...

Panna cotta from Italian cooker?! Yes, of course;D

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