Happy New Year Peeps! Here's to making this year count and making a difference! I wish we had something we could clink. Oh wait, we do!
I had to start this year with a dessert in a glass only because we need to clink something. It has to be festive enough. Something pretty enough. And therefore I present a really simple, and really pretty dessert - the panna cotta.
My first panna cotta was in a restaurant in Pondicherry. So tiny and rustic, I'm fairly sure it doesn't exist anymore because for the life of me, I cannot remember its name. That said, what I do remember was the eggplant parmigiana and the Cocoa panna cotta. Velvety smooth, so creamy on the palate, I remember the panna cotta as a mousse-like jelly. Okay, okay, that just sounds wrong. What I mean it was just such a different texture that I was hooked.
When I asked the lady who owned the restaurant how its made, she said oh just four things - cocoa, cream, sugar and gelatin. How cool is that, I thought to myself. And then I had to make it myself
Making a panna cotta is really no rocket science. Just a bit of sugar, cream, whatever flavours you want and gelatin or agar agar. I've realised that if you're making a non-chocolate or coffee pannacotta, substituting half the cream with yogurt or buttermilk always makes a big difference.
For this pannacotta too, I used half buttermilk and half cream to make a lighter and truly delectable dessert. I used a bit of dark chocolate balsamic in mine and infused the cream with lemon peels, so that the oils from the lemon would realise it flavour it well.
This is a great recipe to make ahead. It sits well for three days as long as you haven't topped it with anything.
Buttermilk Lemon Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries
1 cup low fat cream
1 cup milk
2 tblsp vinegar/lemon juice
zest of one lemon
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract / balsamic vinegar
11/2 tsp gelatin
2 tblsp cold water
For the strawberries
200 grams strawberries hulled
2 tblsp sugar
2 tsp chocolate balsmic vinegar
1. In a bowl mix together the milk and vinegar or lemon juice and keep aside to slightly curdle.
2. In a small saucepan add the cream, lemon zest, sugar and vanilla. Bring to a boil. Keep aside to infuse.
3. In a small bowl measure out the gelatin and top with the cold water. Set aside to bloom
4. After half an hour, mix together the curdled milk/ buttermilk mxiture with the cream mix.
5. Meanwhile heat the gelatin gently and add to the cream mix. Stir well.
6. Strain and pour into individual bowls.
7. Let it set for 3 to 4 hours.
8. For the strawberries - wash and hull the strawberries, chop into slices.
9. Add the balsamic and sugar and mix well. Let it sit for atleast half an hour,before topping the pannacotta with the berries.
10. Serve cold.