make: almond vanilla bean pannacotta

When cooking for our friends, we love to try our hand at traditional dessert recipes – adding our own special flavours and unique touches to make them our own (He has a creative flair and eye for presentation… must be all those years of watching Masterchef ). Flicking through numerous recipes online, we decide to make vanilla bean panna cotta for two separate dinner occasions. After these several attempts at making this jiggly dessert goodness, we’ll probably never order panna cotta again (because it’s surprisingly quite easy and straightforward to make – even for the aspiring chefs and budding dessert connoisseurs out there, plus we were a bit sick of eating so much panna cotta two weeks in a row!).

Tip of the day: We practiced the night before to ensure the consistency of our panna cotta was just right. Silicon muffin trays make great ramikins for this, as they pop straight out of the mould!

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VANILLA BEAN PANNA COTTA (Serves 6)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (375ml) cream
  • 1 1/2 cups (375ml) milk
  • 1 vanilla bean pod
  • 1 tsp of almond essence
  • 1/2 cup (115g) caster sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp gelatine powder
  • Sliced berries or chocolate flakes / dusted cocoa powder, to serve

Method

  • Place the cream and milk in a saucepan. Use a small sharp knife to split the vanilla bean lengthways, then scrape the seeds from inside the bean. Add the seeds and bean to the saucepan. Add the almond essence to the mixture and stir. Slowly bring to the boil over a medium heat. Remove from the heat and set aside for 10 minutes.
  • Discard bean from cream mixture. Add sugar and return to a low heat. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until sugar dissolves.
  • Place 2 tbs of boiling water in a small heatproof bowl. Sprinkle over gelatine. Bring a small saucepan of water to boil. Remove from heat. Sit the bowl of gelatine in the water and stir until dissolved. Cool slightly, then stir into the cream mixture.
  • Lightly oil 6 x 1/2 cup (125ml) dariole moulds or ramekins. Place on a tray and pour in cream mixture. Refrigerate for 4 hours.
  • To serve, break the seal by inserting a small knife between the panna cotta and the mould. Turn onto a serving plate and shake to release. The panna cotta will look absolutely delightful, with the vanilla beans sprinkled on top of the dessert.
  • Serve dish with fresh berries (for presentation, we choose physalis berries and redcurrant, you can get these from your local supermarket!).

Adapted from: http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/15191/vanilla+bean+panna+cotta

Varations:

Green tea, vanilla & strawberry cream panna cotta on chocolate dust…

  • Experiment with Flavour: Follow the steps above – when making your vanilla panna cotta mix, infuse a tea bag of your choice into the saucepan when boiling the cream. We use T2’s Gorgeous Geisha (Green tea with strawberries drizzled in cream is a big and bold sweet sensation)
  • Experiment with Presentation: Hold two sheets of paper above your serving plate to create a thin rectangle shape and dust cocoa powder or drinking chocolate onto the plate using a sieve. Carefully place your panna cotta on top of the cocoa powder and shave a block of your favourite milk chocolate with a grater and sprinkle on top of the panna cotta (we love Belgian chocolate Côte d’Or).

Ta da – there you have it! Let us know how you go with this recipe and if you try any different flavour combinations!

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