For this week’s Memories of Meals Past post, I’m writing about panna cotta, that fancy-pants dessert. I’d always heard of panna cotta, but never knew exactly what it was until this year, when I came across several recipes for it. Basically, it’s a cream jelly. It makes for a pretty moulded dessert, and is often served with a fruit coulis.
Apparently, it originated in northern Italy, where it was made by boiling fish bones with heavy cream. The collagen from the fish bones turned the heavy cream into a gelatinous pudding. I.e. cream jelly. But don’t worry, it tastes better than it sounds! It’s actually really delicious, unless you’re a vegetarian, like me, in which case, don’t eat it, but use a gelatin substitute instead.
And never fear, no fish bones were used in the making of this dessert.
I did, however, use gelatin, simply because I had it in the house. Gelatin isn’t veg-friendly, so please use a substitute (agar-agar?) if you’re vegetarian. The DH thoroughly enjoyed this dessert, and I enjoyed making it for him, so I think we were both winners in the end! And the strawberry coulis was very tasty — that, I can vouch for!
Want to whip some up yourself? Let’s!
Strawberry Panna Cotta
- 1 pkg. gelatin (or sub in agar-agar if you’re veg)
- 2 3/4 cream (although I used part milk, simply because)
- 1/2 c. sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 c. strawberries
- 1/2 c. water
- 1/3 c. sugar
Let the gelatin ‘bloom’ by sprinkling it over a cup filled with 1/4 c. of water. Once it’s absorbed the water, dump it into a saucepan and add the cream/milk mixture, as well as the sugar. Heat until both the gelatin and the sugar are dissolved. Stir in vanilla extract.
Pour the panna cotta into your serving dishes. I tilted the dishes (glasses) that I used by resting them against a head of romaine lettuce in the fridge so that they looked all fancy-pants, but hey, you do you! Then let the panna cotta set up, preferably overnight. To serve, top the dish with a chilled berry coulis (berries and water and sugar all boiled up and blended). Chill until served. Enjoy your delicate dessert!
Pro Tip: To cover the panna cotta with berry coulis but without damaging the delicate jelly, pour the coulis over the back of a spoon that is held over the panna cotta. Easy, peasy!
This dish is easy, pretty, and delicious, so if you’re looking for a dinner party dessert that you can make ahead, try this one! It’s pretty healthy (if you ignore the sugar), and it’s a nice, light ending to a meal. Enjoy!
Next Post: Back to France, or at least my French baking group, for a variation on a theme. Maybe with rhubarb, maybe with cherries. I’ll see what I feel like when I’m back from my camping trip this weekend!
Edited to add: I’m trying something new to bump up my posts/page views. I’m taking part in a link up organized by Christy Jordan of SouthernPlate.com. Check out my link and other yummy recipes here!