Friday, November 13, 2009

Painless Panna Cotta - Lemon Verbena Panna Cotta

I promised there would be Lemon Verbena recipes. So here is the first one. :)

I absolutely LOVE Panna Cotta (Cooked Cream), which is exactly WHY I don't make it very often. It is positively delicious and creamy without coating your tongue the way Crème Brûlée and Crème Carmel do. Delicious with fresh fruit or coulis as well as chocolate or caramel sauce... It is just plain awesome.

Most recipes for Panna Cotta do not contain yogurt, that is kind of my own spin (after some advice from Mario Batali), in an attempt to richen the flavor of the cream. You see the cows in Italy are different than those in the U.S.. Most of the milk here is the product of the Jersey or the Holstein. While Piemonte (where Panna Cotta hails from) has their own breed known as the Piemontese (go figure)

and their milk tastes very different than that of our American cows (Happy as the California ones may be, their milk still doesn't produce as delicious a Parmegiano as the Piemontese cows do)

Anyway, there really isn't enough yogurt to make the Panna Cotta TASTE like yogurt, the honey covers that up, but it does balance out the flavor and lend a richness to the finished product. But I am starting to ramble... as I am so prone to do.

So without further rumination of babbling... ;)

Lemon Verbena Panna Cotta

2 TB water (for gelatin)
1 1/4 tsp unflavored gelatin or 2 tsp of Agar
1 1/3 cups Heavy Cream
1/2 cup Goat milk Yogurt or Whole-Milk Yogurt (Goat Milk is better, it has a fresher taste)
10 Frozen Lemon Verbena Leaves
1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/4 cup Honey (Orange Blossom if available) or 1/3 cup Sugar

Put 2 TB water in a small glass bowl or Ceramic ramekin and sprinkle gelatin over it and let stand for 10 minutes or until gelatin softens (Blooming).

In a large bowl combine 1/2 cup cream and the yogurt, whisk until smooth. (I use a large 4 cup glass measuring cup with a spout to make pouring the Panna cotta into ramekins easier.)

In a small saucepan set over medium heat, combine the remaining Heavy Cream with Honey, Vanilla and 10 Lemon Verbena Leaves; bring to a simmer while stirring.

Remove from heat, cover and let steep for 10 minutes.

Strain to remove the leaves.

Melt gelatin by placing small bowl in barely simmering water, stir until gelatin becomes clear, then remove bowl from water immediately…. (You do not want your gelatin to get to hot, or it will begin to break down.)

Add the gelatin to the warm Cream/Honey/Verbena mixture and stir well.

Pour the warm cream mixture into the cool yogurt cream mixture and whisk, just until smooth, no more than that or you will interfere with the gelling process that has started.

Quickly divide the mixture among 6 - 4 oz ramekins, or for larger servings of 6 oz use 4 tea cups.

Be careful of the shape if you plan on inverting it later. You will have to be able to run a knife around the sides to release it. (I use smooth sided conical ramekins)

Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

You can serve Panna Cotta right in the ramekins, or invert each ramekin onto a plate.

To invert Panna Cotta, set the ramekins into a pan of hot water for 1 minute.
Run a knife or a small off-set spatula around the edges of ramekins and invert them onto plates. Remove the ramekins.
Serve plain or top the Panna Cotta with a little Lemon Zest, Marsala Nut Sauce, Black Cap Raspberry Coulis (as below),

Link Strawberries in Black Pepper Balsamic or, as in this case, with Huckleberry sauce



Dajana said...

OK: I have agar, I have orange blossom honey from Sicily, I don't have any verbena. I'll have to think of something, cause I really want to try making panna cotta.
I often buy meat from Piemontese cows, it's much more expensive, but just one look at it, tells you it's way better than ordinary meat. Unfortunately, I haven't seen a package of piemontese milk yet.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I love your use of lemon verbena here. Wish I'd thought of it when I was growing lemon verbena.

Patti T. said...

Please don't ever stop with the ruminations, it is part of your blogs charm. I feel like I am constantly learning things from you. Thanks for a great recipe.

Danielle said...

this sounds wonderful. anything "cream" has got to be good. I still need to find lemon verbena

Cathy said...

These look so awesome! For as much as I love custards, I have never made this. Shame on me. This looks like a good one to start with.