custom cakes/cookies

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Vanilla Panna Cotta with Kumquat Gelée

The first time I had panna cotta was this summer when in Norway. Expressly for the purpose of tasting reindeer carpaccio, I ate at a restaurant that claimed to have an authentic Norwegian menu. As a bonus for the total local experience, the dessert menu listed a panna cotta topped with cloudberries. Panna cotta, is by no means Nordic, but I was more interested in eating those cloudberries. The guide book made them sound rare and special. As a maker of jam I was intrigued. The name alone connotes loftiness!

The cloudberries, served as a pretty amber-colored glaze on top the panna cotta, were nice. Distictly tart. They made for a good pairing with the creamy panna cotta, resulting overall in a light and refreshing summer-y end to a meal.

For those that don't know, panna cotta is honey-sweetened cream and milk, stabilized with unflavored gelatin. Though cream-based, it's really only a fancy Jell-O of sorts, that's very simple to make. In my version here, I top it with a season-approapriate, citrusy and spiced kumquat gelée, which also has a jello-like consistency due to the addition of gelatin. With the free-floating fruit, it is perhaps somewhat reminiscent of the Jell-O salad ubiquitous at retro potlucks. But I'd like to believe this is a slightly more sophisticated version.

The February 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen. She chose to challenge everyone to make Panna Cotta from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and Nestle Florentine Cookies. I attempted the florentine cookies as well, but gave them all away before photos could be taken.

Giada's Vanilla Panna Cotta
serves 6

1 cup whole milk
1 TBS (one packet) unflavored powdered gelatin
3 cups whipping cream (30+% butterfat)
1/3 cup honey
1 TBS granulated sugar
pinch of salt

Pour the milk into a chilled sauce pan and sprinkle gelatin evenly and thinly over the milk. Let stand for 5 minutes to soften the gelatin.
Place the saucepan over medium heat on the stove. Heat this mixture until it is hot, but not boiling, about five minutes, whisking a few times as it heats.
Next, add the cream, honey, sugar, and pinch of salt. Making sure the mixture doesn't boil, continue to heat and stir occasionally until the sugar and honey have dissolved, 5-7 minutes.
Remove from heat, allow it to sit for a few minutes to cool slightly. Then pour into individual glasses or ramekins.

Refrigerate about 6 hours or until firm. When firm enough to support the gelée layer (see recipe below), pour the room temperature gelée over the panna cotta, distributing evenly among all the glasses. Room temperature is important so as not to melt the panna cotta, which would disturb the distinct separation of layers. Chill several more hours to allow the gel to set up firm.

Kumquat Gewurztraminer Gelée
from Jamie Stachowski, Restaurant Kolumbia

1 pint kumquats
1½ tsp powdered gelatin
1¼ cup Gewurztraminer wine, divided
½ cup sugar
½ cup honey
1 small knob peeled ginger root
1 star anise clove
zest of ½ a lemon
1½ tsp lemon juice
a pinch of salt

In a saucepan, cover the whole kumquats with water and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer for 2 minutes, then drain. Repeat process twice until kumquats are very soft, don't worry if some begin to split. This process removes the bitterness. Slice into thin rounds and remove seeds. Set aside.

In a bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over ¼ cup wine. Set aside.

Set a pot over medium heat and mix the sugar with the honey. When the sugar dissolves, turn heat to low and add the ginger, anise clove, and lemon zest. Simmer for a few minutes until aromatic. Stir in the remaining cup of wine, then add sliced kumquats and simmer on low until the flesh is tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat. Take ¼ cup of syrup and whisk into gelatin/wine mixture, then stir the gelatin mixture back into pot of kumquats and syrup. Add the lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Stir to evenly distribute kumquats and whole spices. Cool until room temperature and then remove spices.


Laura said...

This was super yummy! Thanks for sharing!


Michelle said...

I've never had or made panna cotta, but now I'm inspired to try it.