Panna cottaaaaaaaaaaaa. Never made this before but since I have a weakness for custard-y desserts, I looked up recipes and realized this is so easy to make, with just a handful of ingredients! I actually have gelatine sheets prepared for my foray into modernist techniques but for some reason, my brain’s not latching onto the stuff I’ve been reading (WTFFF!? *cry of indignation*). I was surly from not being able to grasp the technical bumblefudgery, so I made panna cotta as a consolation to myself. May God be witness to how I wrung excess water out of the gelatine sheets with white-knuckled fists. (j/k~)
Here’s gelatine leaf/sheet. It is so fascinating because in its dry form it looks as though it’s been designed from the future. Like some hi-tech space food of some kind for ascetic minimalists because it’s a filmy sheet, very much like acetate, with patterned perforation – presumably to facilitate quicker water absorption when the sheet is rehydrated. Whenever any recipe calls for gelatine leaf/sheet, it is absolutely necessary to soak it in cold water first. This process is called “blooming” and the resulting thing looks like… I can only describe it as slippery clingwrap. Oops, I realize the last two words form an oxymoron.
For the curious, gelatine is basically dehydrated animal collagen.
Now let’s go off to a slight tangent. Part of what’s making me damn confused about using gelatine sheet in modernist recipes is that the basis of that technique calls for very specific measurements of weight. Say a recipe calls for one sheet, is it the entire sheet or do I have to cut it up into pieces first? I assume all gelatine sheets come in this rectangular standard size, but each piece so light-weight so how the hell am I supposed to measure the weight? Each sheet of gelatine is about 9″ x 2.75″ which is too big to fit onto the “extreme precision” digital gram scale that I own. This scale has a surface plate the size of a business card and measures in 0.1g increments; that’s hardcore and it can prolly measure a feather although I haven’t had the insanity to confirm this. Anyway, figuring out modernist recipes is like going back to high school and failing Math and Chemistry all over again… #truestory. Damn demoralizing.
THIS. I should’ve picked this up a long time ago, it’s basically a jar of organic vanilla bean that’s been made into paste form. I’ve been holding off on buying actual vanilla pods since they cost an couple of limbs, but caved into buying this finally because I want vanilla seeds – it’s all about the seeds. Used it in this panna cotta recipe and the vanilla flavor was thebombdotcom beautiful. The fragrant scent totally tranforms my humble panna cotta into a rockstar dessert. Totally worth the investment of S$30+ a jar. Here’s a similar similar product.
Vanilla Panna Cotta with Mixed Berries and Balsamic Syrup
250 ml heavy cream
200 ml milk
2 sheets gelatine
2 Tbs sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
Soak gelatine sheets in cold water for 5 minutes. In the meantime, combine heavy cream, milk, sugar, and vanilla in a pot and bring to a gentle boil. Squeeze excess water from gelatine and add one at a time into cream mixture, stirring steadily to dissolve. Let cool before pouring into ramekins or small jars. Chill for at least three hours or overnight.
3 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
Splash of Cointreau or rum, optional
Mint, for garnish
Rinse and soak goji berries for a few minutes, then combine with sliced strawberries and blueberries in a bowl. Sprinkle sugar and balsamic vinegar. If using, add a splash of Cointreau or rum. Mix well and let sit for at least half hour.
Right before serving, spoon generously over panna cotta and garnish with mint.