Sunday, August 7, 2011

Panna Cotta With Raspberry Coulis

I've been meaning to make panna cotta for months now. "Panna cotta" literally translates to "cooked cream" in Italian. Doesn't that sound divine? Add a little sugar, vanilla, et cetera, and you have yourself a dessert. If you're a vegetarian, you might find yourself in a bit of a pinch, however, when you find that gelatin is also on the traditional ingredient list. But, have no fear: Agar agar is here!

Agar agar is a 100% vegetarian gelatin made of seaweed. It's odorless, tasteless, and perfect for thickening desserts without using animal bones. I use the product at this link, and more information about using agar agar in cooking can be found here.

For the panna cotta you'll need...
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 TBSP agar agar flakes
- 2 tsp vanilla

For the raspberry coulis you'll need...
- 6 ounces raspberries
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 TBSP water

How To Cook It
The panna cotta...
1) Combine the panna cotta ingredients in a pot on your stove over low heat.
2) Stir frequently and bring to a simmer.
3) Cook on low (do not allow the liquid to boil!) as the agar agar dissolves and remove from heat.
4) Rinse four small bowls under cold water. Don't dry if you're planning on unmolding your dessert later.
5) Spoon your panna cotta into the bowls. They'll each need to hold about a half cup serving.
6) Allow to cool and set in the refrigerator for three or more hours, and serve.

The raspberry coulis...
1) Rinse the berries, and drain well.
2) Put in a pot with the water and sugar. Stir to combine.
3) Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring frequently.
4) Remove from heat and blend using an immersion blender, food processor, or blender.
5) Allow your coulis to cool to room temperature and refrigerate until ready to drizzle over your panna cotta.

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