Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Coffee Panna Cotta with Frangelico--Super Easy

Today it will be about panna cotta, coffee panna cotta, precisely. And I like it so much that this will be the second time I'm showing a panna cotta dessert on my blog.

I would like to convince those who have never made panna cotta to challenge themselves and try, as it is in fact an unbelievable easy culinary task. And the result is undescribably rewarding.

I know that some people can be scared by the use of gelatin in it, which can make things messy and turn a culinary experiment into a disaster, and you may be afraid that this beautiful panna cotta can turn into a huge curd cottage cheese, rather than a smooth dessert. I assure you though that with a little bit of effort this disaster is utterly avoidable. I make many fantastic desserts and cakes based on gelatin, and I hope soon enough also you will.

Moreover, for many other reasons, panna cotta is so easy that it is the best way to start working with gelatin. And there is no way this recipe will not work, because gelatin is dissolved in a large amount of milk which prevents it from forming lumps.

Basically, all you need to do is to put all the ingredients in a pot, heat it, pour it in the molds, let it chill, and six hours later you will never regret the risk you took. The secret lies in the right proportions, so the dessert is not too liquid or too stiff.

I have always used white sugar to make it, but this time I used the brown variety to strengthen the "burned" taste of the coffee extract itself. On top of that, it created an additional visual layered effect, as the heavy sugar stayed at the bottom of the molds. This time, I also added an extra tbsp of Frangelico liqueur, to make it a more of a grown-up treat.

The biggest challenge though is to take panna cotta out of the container, as it is rather wobbly. If you are afraid of this, make it simply in nice elegant glass goblets and serve it like that.

Coffee Panna Cotta

1 cup whole milk,
2 cups heavy whipping cream,
2/3 cup brown sugar,
3 tbsp coffee extract (I used simply Nescafe Instant coffee)
2 tsp gelatin,
1 tbsp Frangelico liqueur,
pinch of salt.

1. Pour milk over the gelatin in a medium pot and let it stand for about 10 minutes.
2. Heat the milk over the medium heat until warm and the gelatin dissolves. Add cream, sugar, coffee extract, and salt, and heat everything until very hot--but do not let it boil.
3. Set aside and cool. Add Frangelico liqueur.
4. Divide the whole mixture among 6-8 small small bowls and chill for minimum 6 hours.

Serve decorated with grated chocolate.