Pannacotta, or Panna Cotta, is one of Italy’s simplest desserts, literally translated to ‘cooked cream’. The dish is smooth, creamy and rich, known for its trademark ‘wobble’ that gives a Pannacotta its signature stature. Of course, getting the perfect wobble has slayed many-a chefs, I’ve heard. Luckily, my attempts have been met with success so far, though I have to say, I’m not a huge fan of the dessert itself…I don’t like ‘jellies’ much. 😛 Hah, now don’t kill me, I make exceptions sometimes…..especially when it’s a dessert as simple as this.
The main reason and inclination behind me making this Pannacotta, if truth be told, was the carton of Amul cream glaring at me from the fridge. I was afraid it would be expiring soon and couldn’t for the life of me, find a recipe that needed more than a few teaspoons of cream! Desserts, yes…but who wanted to slave behind an oven for hours? Not me!
I have seen so many Pannacotta recipes, and they all call for high-fat, full-fat milk and cream, and I believe that is crucial as well. But there’s no harm in being self-conscious and going low-cal once in a while, right? Right? Please tell me I’m right!!! 😛 Oh well… I went there, made a low-fat Pannacotta, and boy, I did NOT regret it at all. Especially since we’ll be using so many strawberries here!
And on an added note, I just have to say, the addition of rosewater has just given this dessert a lift I couldn’t have believed was possible. I’m not a fan of rosewater, but trust me, it really adds a wonderful mellowness to this Pannacotta.
As you can see, I’ve set the Pannacotta three ways; one was the traditional styled version that I demoulded and served on a plate, while the other two versions were served in glasses. So if demoulding isn’t your thing, then fear not, and set your Pannacotta in a glass!
There’s also the question whether one should use gelatin or agar-agar; frankly, I’d say it’s up to you. I’ve heard from friends that agar-agar results in a firmer set, while gelatin gives a nice jiggle, that’s great for Pannacotta. So if you’re vegetarian or just dislike gelatin, go for agar-agar 🙂 it’s the taste that matters after all.
Also, if you want to go dairy-free, I’d suggest using soy milk or tofu, or even soy cream or dairy-free yogurt! Great for vegans, and lactose intolerant folks as well 🙂
Vanilla-Rosewater Pannacotta (with Strawberry Coulis)
For the Pannacotta
- Fresh cream – 1 cup (240 ml)
- Milk – 1 cup (240 ml)
- Sugar – ¼ cup (50 gm)
- Gelatin – 7 gm (Use 1 tsp agar-agar if vegetarian)
- Vanilla extract – 2 tsp
- Rosewater – 2 tsp
For the Strawberry Coulis
- Strawberries – 250 gms, stemmed and quartered
- Sugar – ¼ cup (50 gm)
- Mint leaves for decoration
- In a bowl, add 1 tbsp cold milk/water and tip in the gelatin. Let it bloom for 10 mins. Don’t stir.
- Combine the milk, cream and sugar in a saucepan, and bring it to a simmer on medium heat, stirring regularly.
- Don’t let it boil, when you see bubbles on the sides, turn off heat, and add the gelatin into the hot mixture. Whisk well and add the vanilla extract and rosewater.
- Strain the mixture well on to a different bowl.
- Rinse 6, 4 oz ramekins under cold water (this will help the pannacotta unmould easily), and pour equal measurements in each.
- Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight, until set.
- For the coulis, combine the strawberries and sugar in a saucepan and a tbsp of water.
- Let it boil and once the strawberries are mushy, take if off the heat. Let it cool to room temp.
- Pour the mixture into a blender and make a smooth puree.
- Refrigerate until use.
- Before serving, unmould the pannacotta and invert on to serving plates.
- Serve the pannacotta with a generous helping of strawberry coulis and a mint leaf on top.