Friday, 24 February 2012

Italian Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta

Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta
 with liqueur infused blue berries
Panna Cotta in Italian means "cooked cream" and this is basically what it is, very simple to make and wonderfully smooth and creamy to eat.  This Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta can be served in many ways, with fresh berries, chocolate sauce, poached rhubarb or with with a coffee liqueur spooned over just before serving.

With the Panna Cotta make sure you stick to the exact gelatine amounts other wise your Panna Cotta will end up horribly rubbery texture instead of a rich creamy smooth dessert.
This recipe below serves 4

Italian Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta

Ingredients

450ml double cream
4 tablespoons caster sugar
1 -2 vanilla pods that have been cut in half to fit in the saucepan or pure vanilla extract
3 sheets or 1 1/4 teaspoons gelatine
250g fresh berries



Method

Place the cream and sugar into a saucepan along with the halved vanilla pods and stir over a gentle heat until the sugar has dissolved.  Then bring the cream/sugar mixture to the boil and simmer for 3 minutes, adding a teaspoon of vanilla extract or more to taste if not using the vanilla pods.  After 3 minutes remove the pods and cut in half length ways and scrape out the vanilla bean seeds into the cream mixture.  Then rinse and dry the pods to use in your vanilla sugar jar.

If you are using gelatine sheets, soak the sheets in cold water until the sheets are floppy, then squeeze out the excess water and stir the sheets into the hot cream until they are completely dissolved.
If you are using the gelatine powder, sprinkle it onto the hot cream in an even layer, then leave to sponge for a minute or two and stir into the cream mixture until it is dissolved.

Pour the cream mixture into four 125ml dariole moulds or ramekins, cover each with a piece of clingfilm and place in the fridge to set.  I generally give it 6 hours or so but it depends on your fridge.

Unmould the panna cotta by dipping them into a bowl or basin of hot water and then tipping them gently out onto your individual serving plates. Be warned once on the serving plate these little babies can't be moved off because they are very fragile, so make sure you place them correctly!. 

 Great served with fresh berries such as raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, or with Kahlua enriched chocolate sauce and strawberries yum!!

Serves 4

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