I don’t do a lot of dessert, but once in a while I’ll try my hand at it. I was watching one of the many food shows I like the other day, and this recipe of panna cotta caught my attention for the simplicity of it.
My ancestry is Italian and my grandmother in Brazil used to do many classics at home. As a child, I thought they were extremely complicated, but as I grew older I realized Italian food is actually simple. It may take some time, but with the right ingredients you can make a lot of things ahead of time and enjoy them for days, saving you some time in the end.
The recipe below is the original, and, yes, there are endless variations, which I plan to try. I hope you enjoy. Cheers!
- 4 cups of heavy cream (or 4 cups half and half, or 3 cups of heavy cream and 1 cup of 1% milk)
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 6 tbsp of water
- 2 tsp of vanilla extract (of course it tastes better with vanilla beans)
- 2 packs of flavorless gelatin (or any other thickening agent in the amount you’re used to to make it not as hard as jello and not as soft as pudding)
- Heat the heavy cream, and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved. Turn off the heat. If you’re using vanilla extract, mix it in and reserve the mix. If you’re using vanilla beans, scrape the seeds and put them (and the pod) in the hot cream. Let it stand for about 30 minutes to extract all the flavor and toss the pod.
- Dissolve the gelatin in a medium bowl with the 6 tbsp of water. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes for it to bloom.
- Mix the cream with the gelatin, divide into 6-8 servings (depending on how big you want them to be, and put it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving.
Toppings can be as varied as you like. The one on the photo is just some cherry compote, which worked with the sweetness of the cream. You can do passion fruit, chocolate sauce, or even port wine. You can also do just one pack of gelatin for a creamier dessert.
The panna cotta itself can have some white chocolate added, or you can replace some of the cream with orange juice (mango juice, strawberry puree, really anything…).