Almost every time my father comes home from a business trip, he will sit and happily tell me about all the desserts and dishes he had tried at many restaurants. It’s maddening for me, listening to the names of all these fancy, amazing desserts, which I really want to try. However, every now and then he tells me about a new dessert, which I immediately go look up. If I find it appealing enough, I book mark a recipe to make later.
A couple months ago, my father mentioned panna cotta. It sounded delicious as he described it. “It’s like flan, just as creamy, but lighter, and instead of caramel on top, there’s fruit…” I was intrigued, and so looked it up and found a recipe by Giada De Laurentiis, and left it bookmarked intending to make it soon. However I completely forgot about the recipe and it stayed there gathering dust.
This month when I logged on to the daring bakers website, to check the challenge, I was surprised: The challenge was panna cotta(and florentine cookies), and recipe for the panna cotta was exactly the same one that I had bookmarked so many months ago!
The Febuary 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen. She chose to challenge everyone to make Panna Cotta from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and Nestle Florentine Cookies.
When I first tried out the vanilla panna cotta recipe I noticed that it had a nice honey flavor, that could be balanced perfectly by something that was slightly tart. Later I re-made the panna cotta, but this time I added a little more honey, to amplify the honey taste, and paired it with some tart(not too tart though) berry compote. The flavors are wonderful: creamy, tart, fruity, and sweet. It’s quite simple, yet complex.
And as for the florentines: I tried some variations and it came way different but need a few tweaks here and there…I will share the recipe later…
Honey Panna Cotta
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 tablespoon unflavored powdered gelatin
- 3 cups) whipping cream (30+% butterfat)
- 1/3 cup honey(slightly more but not quite 2/3 a cup…)
- pinch of salt
- Pour the milk into a bowl or pot and sprinkle gelatin evenly and thinly over the milk (make sure the bowl/pot is cold by placing the bowl/pot in the refrigerator for a few minutes before you start making the Panna Cotta). Let stand for 5 minutes to soften the gelatin.
- Pour the milk into the saucepan/pot and place over medium heat on the stove. Heat this mixture until it is hot, but not boiling, about five minutes. (I whisk it a few times at this stage).
- Next, add the cream, honey, sugar, and pinch of salt. Making sure the mixture doesn’t boil, continue to heat and stir occasionally until the sugar and honey have dissolved 5-7 minutes.
- Remove from heat, allow it to sit for a few minutes to cool slightly. Then pour into the glass or ramekin.
- Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight.
- 1 cup of frozen mixed berries(or any fruit that you want really)
- some sugar
Wash the frozen berries in sieve to get the ice off of it.
Put the fruit in small sauce pan and just let it simmer for a while, and let the fruit defrost. Stir it a little and you’ll see some juice gathering on the bottom. Keep stirring and if you don’t see juice add little water. Not a whole lot or you’ll end up with a very watery compote, that won’t taste very good. Taste the compote. If needed add a little bit of sugar, until it tastes right to you. Let it simmer for some more time, until the juice around the berries, thickens a little more. Remove from heat and spoon onto panna cotta.
NOTE: Because I had frozen rasberries, and blackberries in my frozen berry mix, which fell apart easily, my compote will look much different from yours. Usually compotes look something like this, with the syrup, separate from the fruit, unlike what you see here.