Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Panna Cotta with Orange Caramel Sauce

Panna Cotta is an Italian dessert made by simmering together cream,milk and sugar and adding gelatin and cooling until set.The dish which literally means 'cooked cream' originated from the city of Piedmont and is normally served with fruits or warm sauce or compote or coulis.I have seen several versions of panna cotta and this one is a very simple one,but very easy to make.

Ingredients:

Panna cotta:
Heavy Cream: 1/2 cup
Milk/half-half cream: 3/4-1 cup
Sugar: 1/2 cup or as per taste
Gelatin: 1 packet unflavoured
Vanila extract: 1/2tsp

Caramel Sauce:
Orange Juice: 1/4 cup
Brown sugar: 1-2 tbsp
Star anise:1-2 pod
Unsalted butter: 1-2 tbsp

Preparation:

Panna Cotta:
In a sauce pan whisk together sugar,half of milk and half of heavy cream on medium-low heat until combined.Add the remaining milk and cream and vanilla extract and continue whisking for a few more minutes till it reaches the boiling point(2-3 minutes).

Prepare the gelatin as per packet instructions,whisking together hot water and gelatin powder.Add it to the hot cream-milk-sugar mixture and whisk thoroughly until combined.Pour into serving cups or small bowls/ramekins.Cool the mix for 10-15 minutes and then refrigerate it for minimum 2 hours or even overnight until set.

Orange Caramel sauce:

This sauce is to be prepared at the time of serving and has to warm.Heat a pan,add butter and brown sugar and melt.Add the orange juice and star anise and simmer until it thickens for 3-5 minutes.

Panna cotta with sauce:

Fill a tray with little hot water and dip the bottoms of the panna cotta ramekins in this for a few seconds.We can see that it loosens.Otherwise using a sharp knife,loosen the panna cotta from the edges of the ramekin.Invert the ramekin on a serving plate and pour warm sauce on top and serve.Otherwise use serving cups for setting pannacotta and serve as such with sauce on top.

For a long time I have been wanting to make Panna cotta.But somehow the cream which I buy for this ends up in something else.But this time around ,I had barely 1/2 cup of heavy cream nearing expiry.So I plunged into this dish.It takes only few minutes prep time.Setting time is more.I actually made it in morning and let it set till night .It was delicious-heavenly I should say.I was hoping it would be a bit bland as it has only vanila extract and sugar and also I was partial to strawberry and chocolate panna cotta .So I expected this as a heavy vanila milkshake,but this was superb.It will not make you think of milkshake at all with or without the sauce.

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