Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Honey Panna Cotta

I guess I could lie and tell you that I made the most amazing panna cotta there ever was, but then that would be so inaccurate that even I couldn't bring myself to tell it.

You know, you never hear about the recipes that have gone awry, do you?  Every recipe ever documented in the history of mankind seems to be perfect and delicious.  But as it turns out, the only thing not perfect and delicious about it is you recreating the recipe.  Well, isn't that just...perfect. 

I've been meaning to make panna cotta for a very long time now.  After all, it is one of my favorite desserts.  I'm really quite predictable when it comes to eating out: I always get the dessert menu.  If panna cotta is on it, in any shape or form (especially if it's vanilla bean), I have to have it.  If panna cotta isn't on it, then I can do without dessert...that is all of course only the rule of thumb if we're not at some celebrity chef, ritzy place where I MUST try everything.  

Anyways, I thought I'd try my hand at making the darn thing since everyone had been telling me how simple it is to make.  To be quite honest, I was intimidated by the thought of ruining my favorite dessert.  Can you imagine the devastation? (Yeah, I's all too real).

I guess I'm making it sound far more dramatic than it actually is.  

It's edible, even slightly enjoyable, but it's definitely not what I had in mind. 

The good news is that I know exactly what I'm going to change about the recipe the moment I lick clean that very last ramekin.  

Even though this isn't my favorite recipe, I thought I'd just tell you about it anyways since you may like rich panna cotta that is on the firmer side.

So here goes, Honey Panna Cotta (recipe taken from Tartelette): 

Makes 4-6 servings
(about 15 minutes of active prep)

1 Tbs powdered gelatin (or two sheets)
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup water
garnish with your favorite fruit or preserves

Dissolve the gelatin in the water and set aside
Pour the heavy cream and the honey into a saucepan and let it come to a simmer
One the cream mixture is hot, remove from heat and whisk in the gelatin until dissolved
Add the buttermilk and gently whisk
Pour the panna cotta mixture into ramekins and let cool at room temperature for at least 20 minutes
Refrigerate for at least 4 hours to allow the mixture to set

Kona and I waiting eagerly for the panna cotta to set.  He was probably a little less excited than I was...

I topped it with fresh blueberries and chopped raw pistachios.

Like I said, it wasn't that bad!  It just had a different texture and flavor than what I had in mind.  In fact, this was a smooth, milky dessert that was perfectly perfumed by the honey.  It was incredibly simple to make and clean up was also very easy.

For round two of the panna cotta trials, I'm going to nix the buttermilk and go either skim milk or half and half and I'm definitely using less gelatin.  The buttermilk made the panna cotta too heavy and taste far too rich and it set up a little too firm for me; I wanted it to be slightly leaning towards a custard or a pudding instead of a jello.  Live and learn.

I'm definitely looking forward to making this again and hopefully it will turn out as delicious as ones that I've had on dessert menus!


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