Friday, March 14, 2008

Buttermilk Panna Cotta

Before revealing the destiny of the fresh pasta we made, here is what we had for dessert.

I remember having pastry chef Dawne's Buttermilk Panna Cotta at Bishop's a long time ago. It was really refreshing and quite unexpected (for my "young" taste buds). I thought I'd try to re-create it, if possible. It would be a fitting end to our pasta meal.

I used powdered gelatin as we had that in the house.

As per the gelatin instructions, I was supposed to stir it into some cold liquid. So I did that in about 1/2 cup of milk.

Meanwhile, I scraped a vanilla pod.

Then, I got a little indecisive. I think it was because I was trying to consolidate the slightly different instructions for using gelatin powder and gelatin sheets.

At first, I added the vanilla bean seeds to more milk (about 1/2 cup) and heated it. However, the recipe I referred to for regular panna cotta (in the Silver Spoon) called for adding the gelatin to warm milk and "boiling" the vanilla with cream.

So, I took the milk off the heat before it was hot and added it to the gelatin-milk mixture.

I then put the vanilla pod into some cream (1 cup), added some sugar, and heated that until almost boiling.

I measured out about a cup of buttermilk at first.

I then mixed the 3 dairy products together: milk, cream, buttermilk. I ended up adding about a 1/2 cup to 1 cup more of buttermilk to the mixture. I tasted the mixture and added a touch more sugar.

Poured the mixture into glasses and into the fridge they went.

We ate at Doña Cata earlier that day, right in the neighborhood of Calabria Bakery. So we thought we'd buy some biscotti to serve with the panna cotta.

And here they are.

All in all, not bad. They looked pretty! However, the panna cotta was too firm. It's the gelatin's fault! It said that one envelope would set 2 cups of liquid, so I used 2 envelopes. Next time I'll just use one. Flavor-wise, it was "OK", but it wasn't the eye-opening, refreshing taste I remember. I can't tell if I want more or less buttermilk! Maybe I'm just getting distracted by the texture.

Hmm, how to remedy this.

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