Directly from the Italian tradition (with a vegetarian twist) one of the most indulgent dessert ever: panna cotta, literally translated with “cooked cream”. It’s a perfect summertime quick dessert that will literally please EVERYBODY as it is silky, creamy and (I’m not kidding) addictive 😉
The fresh berries coulis (I used strawberries and raspberries) it’s an amazing summer complement to the panna cotta. In winter you can easily substitute it with some chocolate warm cream.
What makes the panna cotta kind of unique is the gelatin that is used to thicken the cooked heavy cream. The gelatin gives that kind of wiggle and light taste to this dessert. Originally the gelatin was made from fish bones (the collagen is the thickening agent), but today is made with the collagen from animal parts (skin, bones, cognitive tissues). Being that said, the traditional panna cotta is NOT vegetarian. As I was preparing a dinner for some vegetarian friends (and I really wanted them to try the panna cotta) I switched the traditional animal gelatin powder with a vegetarian agar agar powder with the same final result: delicious!!
The recipe I’m sharing with you today is vegetarian thanks to the agar agar but if you want you can use the animal gelatin without any problem.
Here you are the quantities for 6 servings:
And that’s how simple the recipe is:
– in a medium size sauce pan add all the cold ingredients: heavy cream + cane sugar + agar agar + vanilla bean
– turn the heat on at medium, stir well with a whisk and let the mix almost boil
– when tiny bubbles will start forming around the edges, reduce the heat at minimum and keep cooking and stirring for 2/3 minutes more
– turn the heat off and fill any pudding mold you like. I used a simple silicon cupcakes mold, perfect size for kids and adults too. The panna cotta cannot be considered a super light dessert, so I prefer to offer small portions. You can still indulge yourself without feeling too guilty 😉
Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. That’s the other beautiful thing about the vegetarian agar agar gelatin…it requires so much less time to thicken compared to the animal gelatin!
– wash the fresh berries. I used strawberries and raspberries in a 1:1 ratio. Place them in a food processor and blend for 1 minute creating a smooth puree
– strain the berries mix in order to remove the seeds (the kids will appreciate!!)
– add the lemon juice and the powdered sugar. mix.
– refrigerate up until serving it with the panna cotta. either on top of it or, like I did, as a pink/red bed.
The panna cotta can be served immediately once thickened or stored in the refrigerator for up to 2/3 days (nothing more). If you are planning a dinner or a party and you want to impress your guests, that’s a recipe to add to the menu’! Easy and simple and you can prepare it in advance.