Panna Cotta

Hey guys, it’s Daniel. I'm back from my culinary adventures in Tulsa. I had a fantastic time at Bodean, and really enjoyed everyone I got to work with and learn from. I learned a ton while I was there and am truly grateful for the opportunity.

While I was there, I made a serrano coulis (pronounced COOL-EE. Coulis: a thick sauce made from pureed fruits or vegetables. It can also be a base for other sauces) for one of their regular menu items. I had never made a coulis before so, upon returning, I wanted to make coulis out of everything.

I’ve also been sitting with this little jar of matcha powder (a type of green tea powder) in my desk for about a month now, just waiting for a chance to use it. So I started thinking about color, then flavor, then an idea I pitched to a client a few months back, and all the sudden, voila!

Remember how I told you I would teach you how to make panna cotta one of these days? Well today is that day.

I got a little ahead of myself and started cooking without Erin, which means we don’t have artsy photos of the process. However, here are a few notes from yours truly on pana cotta.

1)     My favorite thing about panna cotta is that it’s incredibly easy and provides a fantastic blank canvas for just about any flavor profile you can imagine, sweet or savory.

2)     Use heavy cream. Maybe experiment with a touch of buttermilk once you get the feel for it. But don’t bother with milk. Heavy cream is the answer.

3)     Strain everything. When in doubt, strain it again.

4)     The ratio of heavy cream to gelatin powder is 1 cup to 1 teaspoon.

5)     Before you pour your panna cotta into molds, very lightly oil them using a neutral flavored oil, this can be vegetable oil or grape seed oil, whatever you’ve got in your pantry. This will help them release after they’ve set up.

6)     When you go to unmold them, be patient, and expect just a bit of melting in the process. Run a thin, sharp knife around the edge both before and after you submerge it in hot water before you turn it over.

So, without further ado, here is panna cotta two ways using the same two ingredients. Seriously, go make some of these. You can impress your friends and family, and the word panna cotta is really fun to say and makes you sound like you know about fancy food.

I used pearl sugar, but powdered sugar will do just fine.

I used pearl sugar, but powdered sugar will do just fine.

because we all know the best part is eating.

because we all know the best part is eating.

Ingredients

2 cups heavy cream
3 tsp matcha powder
5 strips lemon peel
3 tbsp. honey
2 tsp. gelatin powder
1 tbsp. powdered sugar for garnish.

Peel from 1 lemon
½ cup water
½ cup sugar

1.     In a saucepan over medium-low heat, whisk together heavy cream, matcha powder, lemon peel, and honey and slowly warm until it just reaches a boil. Meanwhile, add the gelatin powder to 1 ½ tbsp. cold water and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Do not stir.

2.     When the heavy cream begins to simmer, remove from heat and whisk in the gelatin. Whisk until the gelatin has dissolved completely. Strain to remove lemon peel and any chunks, then pour into lightly oiled ramekins. Cover the ramekins in plastic wrap and allow to set overnight.

3.     To make candied lemon zest, slice lemon zest into thin ribbons. Combine sugar and water and bring to a simmer. Cook the lemon zest in the simple syrup for about 5 minutes before removing and allowing to dry on parchment paper. 

4.     To unmold panna cotta, bring a pot of water to a boil and remove from heat. Dip the ramekins about ¾ of the way in the hot water for about 10 seconds before turning out on to a plate. Serve with blueberry coulis (see recipe below), candied lemon zest, and powdered sugar.

 

Ingredients

2 cups blueberries
¾ cup water
¼ cup amaretto
2 tablespoon sugar
2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoon gelatin powder

1 tablespoon heavy cream
½ cup crème fraiche
¼ cup greek vanilla yogurt
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon matcha powder
Slivered almonds, toasted

 

1.     Combine blueberries, water, amaretto, and sugar in a pan over medium-high heat and simmer until the berries have burst and the sauce has thickened. Puree in a blender and strain.

2.     Whisk together ¼ cup plus 1 tbsp. of the blueberry sauce with the heavy cream and slowly bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, add the gelatin powder to 1 ½ tbsp. of cold water and allow to stand for 10 minutes.

3.     Once the cream mixture has come to a simmer, remove from the heat and whisk in gelatin until dissolved. Strain the mixture and pour into lightly oiled ramekins and cover. Allow to sit overnight.

4.     To make the grean tea sauce, whisk together the heavy cream, crème fraiche, and yogurt. Sift in the matcha powder and powdered sugar and whisk until well combined.

5.     To unmold panna cotta, bring a pot of water to a boil and remove from heat. Dip the ramekins about ¾ of the way in the hot water for about 10 seconds before turning out on to a plate. Serve with green tea sauce, powdered sugar, and slivered almonds.