Panna Cotta, I Fear No More

In Italian language, Panna Cotta means cooked cream. Here’s the definition of Panna Cotta dessert in wikipedia. It is a popular Italian dessert that serves well in the summer. Well, if you are living in Malaysia, you could make this dessert all year round. This dessert is very simple to make and as long as you follow the exact measurement and steps, it is a guaranteed success.

I had some fresh whipping cream left-over from my recent attempt of Black Forest Cake. I know whipping cream has a short life span in the refrigerator. So, when I read V‘s article on Panna Cotta that uses whipping cream, without hesitation, I put on my apron. My confidence level wasn’t too high because of my previous failure with gelatin and whipping cream recipes before but I persisted. I really wanted to give V’s recipe a try. Carefully following each steps, and after 3 hours of refrigeration time, a “divine” creamy dessert appeared. It was totally out of my expectations. The dessert came out creamy with a hint of almond and totally satisfying.

In the near future, I will definitely attempt to make more desserts with these two major ingredients, gelatin and whipping cream. Perhaps I would even invest in vanilla pods. The tiny specks of vanilla bean from the pod would definitely enhance the look as well as the taste.

Lee Ping’s notes:

V’s recipe calls for 1 1/4 tsp of unflavored gelatin. I had forgotten to measure, but I used the whole pack of gelatin.

I also used fat-free milk to reduce the fat content of this dessert. My husband took a bite and he was suspicious. How could anything taste this good with fat-free milk and no eggs was involved? I did not tell him the creaminess came from the whipping cream. After 14 years of marriage, he knew I was hiding something from the look of my eyes, so he refrained from finishing his dessert. Good for him. I want him to live longer than me anyway.

I did not have vanilla pods, so I substituted it with 1/4 tsp of vanilla extract.
Allow the gelatin be absorbed by the milk for a few minutes. Heat the cream and milk with sugar, vanilla and almond extract. Stir and mix well. Pour the mixture into several molds and chill to set. Serve with fresh fruits. I used the fruit (blackberry) only as a topping instead of part of the dessert. You could remove the dessert from the mold and present it in a platter as well.

So, hope on over to V’s blog for the recipe. And when you are there, please leave her a thank-you note.

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20 Comments

Filed under Desserts

20 responses to “Panna Cotta, I Fear No More

  1. V

    I am very flattered that you chose to try this recipe, and I am so glad that it work well for you too!

  2. Dear V,
    This recipe is definitely a keeper. I no longer fear recipes with gelatin and whipping cream!

  3. Looks great, must be delicious.
    We had dedicated our latest creation on our blog to you,.. for a healthy living, hope you like it.

    BigBoys Oven

  4. peter chong

    Hi Lee Ping,
    Congratulations to you on your success to turning out a sumptious dessert for your family ‘s consumption. The dessert looks yummy!
    How I wish to try out your dessert,but unfortunately I am unable to do so because of my diabetic condition.
    Happy cooking.
    Papa and mom

  5. Big Boys Oven,
    Thank you. Indeed, V’s Panna Cotta’s delicious! Thanks for the dedication. I have never had gateau marquise au chocolat.
    French pastries is not easy to master. You have done well.

  6. Looks wonderfully creamy, MrsHBT! Nice photography, too. ^_^
    I had pannacotta both in Italy and Malaysia. The ones served in M’sian restaurants — some were good, others were dubious. But I love the creamy texture and vanilla flavour, plus the liquid caramel.

    Have you tried making creme brulee as well?

  7. Dear Argus,

    Panna Cotta unmold and serve with liquid caramel trickling down the sides. That sounds yummy as well. I will need to adjust the sugar content in the Panna Cotta, so that it will not be too sweet. How about Panna Cotta with gula melaka or palm sugar? Now, that is truly West meets East.

    No, I haven’t made creme brulee from scratch but I have brought home frozen ones from Trader Joes (our local market). They were a little too sweet for me.

    I found a link that has an old creme brulee recipe that dates back to 1909. It was taken from The Ocklye Cookery Book by Eleanor L. Jenkinson. I like this recipe because the custard in this recipe does not call for sugar. The sweetness is derived from the burnt sugar crust.

    The ingredients for creme brulee is egg yolks and heavy cream. I like the burnt sugar crust on top of the custard. So, if I have left-over whipping cream next time, I can make creme brulee. Thanks Argus!

    Ingredients
    (2 1/2 cups heavy cream) or
    (1 1/4 cups heavy cream and 1 1/4 cups light cream)
    4 large egg yolks, well beaten
    1/4 to 1/3 cup superfine sugar*

    Instructions
    Bring cream to a boil, and boil about 30 seconds. Pour it immediately into the egg yolks and whisk them together. Return the mixture to the pan and continue cooking without allowing it to boil. Stir the mixture until it thickens and coats the spoon. Pour the mixture into a shallow baking dish. Refrigerate overnight.
    Two hours before the meal, sprinkle the chilled cream with the sugar in an even layer and place it under a broiler preheated to the maximum temperature. The sugar will caramelize to a sheet of brown smoothness. You may need to turn the dish in the grill to achieve an even effect. It is important that this step be done very quickly in order to keep the custard cold and firm and the top crisp and brown.
    Serving size – 4 to 6

  8. wmw

    Photos of the Panna Cotta are looking great. Noticed you are using the odd rule…three instead of two! Ha ha…don’t you think it makes the pic look better than a pic with just two of them? They look really yummy!

  9. yay! The first time i tried panna cotta was at this italian restaurant…. the starters and main dish was lousyyyy but when the panna cotta it saved the dinner. I got to try this.. i totally love the dessert! And I went over to V’s page… I didnt know it was this easy to make.

  10. Dear WMW,
    Thanks to you, my teacher, my pictures are looking better by the day.

    Dear Teckiee,
    If you try Panna Cotta using V’s recipe, please leave her a thank you note. 🙂

  11. i only know i will rather pay anyday for such a dessert..im hopeless at cooking..just look at my latest post haha

  12. LotsofCravings,
    Looking at your latest creation, miso salmon, sukiyaki pork, wontan mein and greens, I would say, you can make this dessert as well.

  13. *Admiring blackberries*

    I thought they were vanilla pods at first, HA HA HA … too presumptious

  14. Jonzz,
    Blackberries do look good, don’t they? They are quite sweet as well. I wonder if Malaysia sells blackberries?
    I should post a photo of vanilla pods. They are long, skinny and black in color.

  15. June

    I too have a “phobia” with gelatin. The last time I tried it in a mango pudding recipe. Can you tell me if you mixed the gelatin with warm or cold milk? What is that green sprig you used on one of the glasses? Gave a really nice effect!

  16. Dear June,
    I mixed one packet of unflavored gelatin (about 1 1/4 tsp) with 1 c cold milk, stir it and let it sit for 5 minutes. As I recall, the gelatin will not totally dissolve but no worries. The gelatin will melt once it is whisked with the hot whipping cream mixture.
    Whisk (1 c heavy cream, 1/4 tsp vanilla extract or half a pod of vanilla bean, 1/2 c sugar and a pinch of salt) in a saucepan over med high heat. Remove from heat when it just comes to a boil.
    At this time, if you used vanilla pod, remove it from the mixture and let it cool.

    If you used a vanilla pod, use a sharp knife, split open the pod, scrape out seeds and add it to the whisk.
    Add the soften gelatin into the hot whipping cream mixture and whisk until incorporated. Add 1/4 tsp almond extract while whisking.

    Continue to whisk until mixture is smooth and gelatin is melted.

    Strain mixture into serving glasses. This step is crucial to ensure smoothness in your panna cotta.
    East Meets West Kitchen‘s recipe is very well written and the measurements are perfect, so I think you will be successful in making this dessert.

    p/s the green sprigs are mints from my garden.

  17. Kenny Mah

    You get Top Marks for presentation! I’m sure a lot of work and thought went into it, right down to the placement of the mint leaves. What is Perfection after all, but 1% inspiration + 99% perspiration? 🙂

  18. Kenny,
    I have heard of “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration”. “Perfection is what you are striving for, but perfection is an impossibility. However, striving for perfection is not an impossibility” John Wooden.

    To be honest, not much perspiration went into this dessert. Mint leaves were from my garden. I did not even have to shop for new dishes. I had these non-breakable glasswares to display my Panna Cotta.
    If only you have a stove, you too can impress your lady friend(s).

  19. LP

    Panna Cotta is one of my fav desserts. Very easy and simple to make. I used heavy whipping cream and sour cream.

  20. Dear LP,
    Welcome to my blog. Panna Cotta has become one of my favorite desserts as well.

    After reading your comment, I did a search on “Panna Cotta”, “Whipping Cream” and “Sour Cream”. To my amazement, there are recipes for Panna Cotta using those 2 ingredients! This one in particular looks impressive.

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