Firstly prepare your fish bones … I’ve always wanted to start a dessert post with just such a statment.
Had we been preparing this Italian dessert tradizionale we would have started with the preperation of our fish bones which were used as the thickening agent.
Techonolgy now on our side, we are able to utilise a sprinkle or two of gelatin… thank fully.
Panna cotta hails from the Emilia -Romagna region of Italy, the long held strong hold of Italian Gastronomy. For centuries the people of Emilia-Romagna have been delighting our palates and amplifying our bellies with such regional delights as Prosciuttio di Parma, Parmigiano Reggiano and of course the frangible and lightly cooked panna cotta.
The literal translation of panna cotta is “cooked cream”, which it is only just . The gelatin is used to set the dessert and I have added white chocolate to this recipe to make it extra decadent.
This relatively simple dessert, consisting traditionally of only four ingredients is made challenging only in thought ~ as too much gelatin will cause the dessert to turn out rubbery, and conversely, too little gelatin will cause the dessert to run forth onto the plate. By nature, panna cotta should be wobbly and voluptuous as a womens bosom which is not hard to achieve if you follow this simple methodology.
Serve elegantly plain or when summer berries are in abundance with a spoonful of these macerated goodies for a sweet-tart contrast.
180gms white chocolate
600mls full cream
4 Tbs caster sugar
1 vanilla pod ~ scraped of its seeds
3 tsp / 10gms powdered gelatin
1/3 cup of boiling water
6x dariole moulds ~ lightly greased with non stick cooking spray
3 handfuls of fresh berries such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries.
2-4 Tbs caster sugar
1/4 cup of red wine, white wine or cider
Into a heavy based saucepan place the white chocolate, cream, sugar and vanilla seeds.
Bring to a gentle simmer, stirring constantly to ensure the mixture is smooth and does not begin to catch on the base of the pot. Remove from the heat and allow to sit for a couple of minutes to give the flavours time to get to know each other a little better.
Sprinkle the gelatin over the boiling water and wait a few minutes for the granules to dissolve.
Pour the gelatin liquid into the cream mixture and stir through to combine.
Strain the mixture through a fine sieve to remove any potential lumps, and then divide the mixture between the 6 moulds.
Lightly cover the moulds with cling film and allow to set in the refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours ~ or overnight if need be.
While the pannacotta are setting to their delicious jelly like state, you can prepare the berries to go with the dessert by heating them in small non-stick pan with 2 Tbs of caster sugar. Once you begin to smell the sugar caramelising slightly in the pan, add in a 1/4 cup of red wine, white wine or cider.
Allow the berries to come to a gentle boil so they begin to break down a touch and the flavour of the sauce begins to develop. Taste the sauce at this point ~ adding more sugar if the berries are particularly tart.
Remove the pan from the heat and leave the berries to sit and cool which once agian will help those wonderful flavours to shine through.
To serve your decadent dessert treat, unmold the panna cotta by running a sharp knife around the edge of the mould.
Hold the mould upside down in the palm of your hand and gentle shake the mould until the panna cotta comes loose and slides into your hand ~ now slid the dessert on to a deep dished plate and surround with berries and a spoon or two of the lovely berry sauce.