Friday, August 26, 2011

Mocha Panna Cotta: Easy, Elegant & Make-ahead

Let's get this straight right up front: If you can boil water, you can make panna cotta.  Frankly, it's one of those recipes everyone—dad's included—should have in their little kitchen toolbox.  It's so easy, so versatile, and it can be made way ahead.  And it looks elegant too.

Don't let the fancy Italian name throw you.  Panna cotta is a light, eggless custard that's thickened with gelatin (think a lighter version of crème brûlée). 

For this video, I serve them in one of my favorite new products, Govino wine glasses.  These super-cool, BPA-free plastic wine glasses are a great alternative to ramekins, and allow you to enjoy the dessert pool-side, at the park, you name it.

Here's the recipe:

Mocha Panna Cotta
Make this delicious dessert up to 2 days ahead.  If you don’t have ramekins or are looking for another serving idea, try serving directly your favorite glasses—whether wine, margarita, Champagne, or otherwise.  Just remember to bring cream mixture to room temperature before adding to glasses.  Also, this recipe can be easily halved of fewer servings.

2 Tbsp. melted butter
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup milk
5 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/4 to 1/3 cup strong brewed coffee
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp. finely chopped semisweet chocolate
Pinch of Kosher salt
Garnish: chopped strawberries, fresh mint leaves, chocolate shavings

Brush 10 (1/2 cup) ramekins with melted butter and transfer to a large roasting pan.  In a small bowl, whisk the gelatin into the milk and let stand until softened, about 5 minutes.

In a medium saucepan, combine heavy cream, coffee, and sugar just to a boil over medium heat.  Remove from heat and whisk in the cinnamon and cocoa.  Whisk in the gelatin mixture until completely melted, then add chopped chocolate and stir until melted.  Strain the mixture into a large bowl; let cool to room temperature.

Pour mixture into ramekins and refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours or overnight.

To serve them out of the ramekins: dip bottom of each ramekin in hot water for 30 seconds.  Run a knife around each panna cotta and invert it onto a dessert plate.  Lift off the ramekin.  Garnish, if desired. 

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1 comment:

  1. Beautful and simple, very Italian. I'll have to try this