Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Panna "Mezza Cotta" Coco Vanilla

I am not calling this dessert "panna cotta" because only half of the panna (cream) is "cotta" (cooked), hence "mezza cotta" (half cooked).

I came across a website (and later lost it) where they were giving tricks to prevent your panna cotta from becoming rubbery or jelly-ish. I thought it was worth trying.

It worked very well, creamy and smooth, just right, but I still feel that working with gelatin is a bit tricky. The consensus seems to be that sheets are better than powder. One problem is that different types of sheets have a different jellying power (in USA they even have Gold, Silver, Platinum sheets etc...). What's more, in Japan the size of the sheets seems to be half the ones we have in Europe, but I don't know if the amount of gelatin is actually half. It's a mess.....
I could easily repeat this recipe with the same sheets of gelatin. Elsewhere, it would need adjustment.
These Pannas were eaten directly from the glasses, so they don't need to be super stiff, which is good. I used only one small sheet of gelatin, which weighs about 1.5gr (you'll have to do some math if you want to try it)

For 4 persons:

- 200ml whipping cream
- 200ml coconut milk (or 6 tablespoons coconut milk powder diluted in water for a total of 200ml)
- 40gr sugar
- 1/2 vanilla pod
- 1 small sheet of gelatin (see above)

- raspberries, or a coulis (fruit puree) made from a rather sour fruit (passion fruit would work well for example).

The whipping cream has to be kept cold in the fridge, don't use it directly after coming home from the grocery's. Take 100ml that you put in a bowl together with a whisk, and put it back to the fridge.

Put the other 100ml cream in a sauce pan, together with the 200ml coconut milk, and the sugar. Cut open the vanilla pod, remove the seeds and add seeds and pod to the cream/milk. Put the sauce pan on low heat and slowly heat it up. Stir from time to time, and be careful not to boil it. Once it is warm keep it on low heat for 5 minutes, not too long.

Remove from the heat, remove the vanilla pod. Soak the gelatin sheet in cold water until soft (about 3min). Squeeze out the water and add it to the warm cream/milk. Mix well.
Leave this Panna at room temperature until it is completely cold. It might take an hour, don't rush this step (some kind of mysterious chemistry is happening there).

You can then take the 100ml cream out of the fridge and gently whisk it, trying not to incorporate too much air. Whisk until it is not completely liquid anymore, but not yet stiff. It should take about 5min.
Incorporate it to the other Panna and gently mix until homogeneous.

Put a few raspberries (or other) into glasses and add the mix (if you are using a coulis instead of fresh fruit pour it over just before serving).
Refrigerate, ideally for one night. Take out from the fridge about 30min before serving.

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