Panna Cotta …a wonderful Italian dessert… so creamy and sweet… perfect after just about any meal. I have been reminded for almost a year that I promised to make Panna Cotta… and well… other things just got in the way.. so this week I decided this was the week.
Let me explain… Warren has been to Scotland at least three times and to Spain once for work… and me? .. you might ask… nope… nada… I still have a virgin passport. Either I couldn’t afford it.. or I had a job to start… and you don’t take time off on short contracts… you don’t work.. you don’t get paid.. no paid vacations here.. and before you ask.. it does have other perks… so it’s a trade off… so bottom line … his trips are a sore point… especially when it comes to fabulous dinners and desserts…
Now back to Scotland.. Warren has had to travel there for work.. Edinburgh to be exact… and after one of his trips he came home raving about this dessert he had at an Italian restaurant there…. that’s all I heard about… so I knew I had to make it.
Deciding to make it was easy.. deciding how to make it was completely another story.
There are so many variations… using only cream, cream and whole milk… skim milk and half and half… sweeten it with confectioners sugar… or regular sugar or honey. It seems everyone has the “perfect” recipe… funny I’ve had many of them and they’re really about the same… About the only thing they all agreed on was the use of gelatin.
So I decided on Giada’s recipe… I read the reviews.. most were outstanding some were dismal… BUT… the complaints were mostly about too heavy a honey flavor. I figured we’d like it.. we really like honey. My southern man loves biscuits with honey.. and I grew up eating honey in teaspoonfuls when I had a sore throat… and warm honey and milk… brings back memories for me.
In any case, I felt the honey would be safe. I followed her directions exactly…. I know… don’t faint… I actually followed a recipe…well.. okay… I added about a ½ tablespoon more sugar after tasting it and deeming it not sweet enough…. there… I feel so much better after admitting that!... but that was it.. that’s all I changed… honest!
First of all… I do not feel the honey flavor was too heavy… in fact it was quite light. The only thing I can think of is that different kinds of honey may have a heavier taste. I used clover honey.
We both liked the dessert… we tried it with thawed strawberries in light syrup… it was good… but I feel it totally masked the flavor of the Panna Cotta… it over-powered it… if you want it with fresh fruit.. I suggest fresh sliced strawberries or mixed berries and not too many.
We also tried it with caramel syrup (the way it was served at the place he went to in Scotland)… and we tried it with a little raspberry syrup. In both cases… we agreed you can’t use too much of either or they too will over-power the flavor of the Panna Cotta. We liked them both… caramel won it by a nose… but raspberry was an excellent choice too.
So the verdict… I’m probably not going to use honey the next time… I will use vanilla… BUT… if I serve it after a special meal and garnish it with a fresh sliced strawberry or a few blueberries… I will definitely use honey… I liked the flavor it was pleasantly subtle and light. The texture was smooth and creamy but held shape.
The recipe was simple and easy.
The recipe calls for 1/3 cup of honey… take the measure out but don’t use it… eyeball the amount using the measure as a guide.. scraping honey out of a measuring cup can be a pain… and I would suggest using slightly less… cook it a while then taste it… add more honey and/or sugar to your taste.
I put the range on the sugar because I did add more than the original recipe called for… use your judgment.
I used Knox gelatin… envelopes in the orange box. One envelope measured the required tablespoon.
Toppings are optional…
I hope you give this a try.
Recipe: Honey Panna Cotta
All you need:
1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon unflavored powdered gelatin
3 cups whipping cream
1/3 cup honey
1 – 1 ½ tablespoons sugar (see notes above)
Pinch of salt
Toppings of your choice
All you need to do:
Place milk in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Allow it to stand for 3 to 5 minutes to soften the gelatin.
Pour the milk into a large saucepan over medium heat… Stirring constantly until the gelatin dissolves. Do not allow it to boil. (about 5 minutes)
Add the remaining ingredients and continue to stir until the sugar dissolves. (about 5 minutes).
Remove from heat.
Pour into wine glasses, dessert glasses or custard cups. Use custard cups if you intend to invert them on a plate and drizzle syrup or sauce on them.
Cool slightly then refrigerate for at least 6 hours.
Makes about 6 servings.
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