Thursday, August 1, 2013

Panna Cotta

I was really nervous this panna cotta wouldn't work out.  Actually, the nerves only set in after I had made it and it was in the fridge setting.  Because during that time, I decided to google "troubleshooting panna cotta" and it was then I realised all the things that could possibly go wrong with it. You'd think I would have researched this before I set out on making it!

As it turns out, I had nothing to be worried about *phew*!  The panna cotta didn't split *happy dance*, it didn't fall away as I de-moulded it *another happy dance* and best of all, it had that beautiful wobble while still retaining its shape.  In fact, according to a friend who learnt how to make panna cotta in Italy, a good panna cotta will move elegantly with the plate while you shake the plate about, kind of like moving clay on a spinning pottery wheel.  So when I jiggled the plate about and the panna cotta wobbled with it and didn't break apart, I knew I was onto a winner!
I followed (predominantly) David Lebovitz's recipe for "perfect panna cotta".  With a title like that, I naturally expected it to turn out exactly how it sounds, which is why troubleshooting panna cotta didn't even cross my mind.  I am very pleased to say that there is nothing misleading or deceptive about David Lebovitz's title recipe.  These turned out perfectly! 

My only (slight) criticism is that I would like my panna cotta to taste a little bit more silky.  The best panna cotta I had was by our cafe chef, which was really light, delicate and silky (*mental note - I really must ask him for his recipe!).  David's recipe wasn't as light as I would have liked it to be, but that could be because I used 45% fat cream rather than 35%.   I think the next time I make these, I might also reduce the gelatin ever so slightly (beware as not enough gelatin will leave the panna cotta a goopy mess). 
I love how panna cotta is almost like a blank canvass.  The classic version uses vanilla, however, you could really play around with the flavours.  Our household always has an abundance of pomegranates (little girl's favourite fruit at the moment) so I topped the panna cotta with fresh pomegranates and crushed pistachios which gave it a really nice texture.  I also really like how these don't take long to make, setting, yes, but making it took only half an hour (and that's with me faffing about in the kitchen). 

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