Rich, silky and incredibly smooth with just the right amount of jiggle; panna cotta is quick and remarkably easy to make but very hard to get right.
What is panna cotta?
Panna cotta which means ‘cooked cream’ in Italian is one of the world’s best-loved desserts, and it’s easy to see why. It can be flavored with anything from vanilla to lavender to orange to rum. The sky’s the limit! While flavor and presentation are of course important, the key to taking panna cotta to the next level of indulgence is getting the texture right. When it comes to texture, a perfect panna cotta should be creamy, silky smooth and quiver when you touch it. If too much gelatin has been added it will feel too stiff, add too little and you’ll have a puddle on your plate.
How do you make Panna Cotta?
Panna Cotta Ingredients
50g caster sugar
1 vanilla pod
2 leaves of gelatin
Soak the gelatin in cold water until soft. Grab a pot with a heavy base and add the cream, milk and sugar. Split the vanilla pods down the center, scrape out the seeds and add them to the cream along with the rest of the pods.
Take the pan off the heat and then take the two leaves of gelatin which have been soaked in cold water, and wring them out before adding to the pan and whisk them in. Adding gelatin sets the cooked cream mixture to give it a texture that is thick, smooth and has a nice jiggle but still isn’t too firm.
Once the gelatin has fully dissolved strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl or jug and skim any bubbles off the surface with a metal spoon, then pour it into moulds. Place the moulds in the fridge until the panna cottas set, preferably overnight.
Serving Panna Cotta
When it comes to serving panna cotta, take the moulds out of the fridge and dip them into warm water for around 5 seconds, place a plate on top of the mould, turn upside down and gently lift the mould off. Panna cotta is so versatile it can be served with a berry coulis, caramel or chocolate sauce or covered with fresh fruit or liqueurs.
There’s no doubt that eating your way around Italy is a lot of fun but if you want to take the authentic flavors home with you it’s very hard to do unless you learn how to create them yourself at a cooking class. The one thing you have to do in Florence is try panna cotta but you can pick up the techniques for creating a perfect panna cotta (along with homemade pasta, pesto sauce and other dishes) on the hands-on Authentic Florence Home Cooking Class. Armed with the knowledge of expert Florentine chef, you’ll be able to recreate the flavors of Italy and impress the heck out of your friends at your next dinner party.