Tips for making a perfect Pannacotta at home will make you confident enough to make pannacotta at home. Pannacotta is an Italian dessert. It was like smoothest silk, in the mouth and I closed my eyes to perceive that delicate dreamy -creamy goodness of when I tasted it for the first time. My eyes sparked as I dipped my spoon into the dome of creamy goodness again and swirled some sauce to scoop out a piece of fruit along. A clean soft creamy cut was made with the spoon and the pannacotta held the tender creamy the shape. This geniality of being super creamy and tender, but not letting go the shape, gave me a reason/curiosity to try this dessert in my home kitchen.
My eyes sparked as I dipped my spoon into the dome of creamy goodness again and swirled some sauce to scoop out a piece of fruit along. A clean soft creamy cut was made with the spoon and the pannacotta held it’s tender creamy the shape. This geniality of being super creamy and tender, but not letting go the shape, gave me a reason/curiosity to try this dessert in my home kitchen.
It may seem complicated to make, but the fact is Panna Cotta is one of the quickest desserts to prepare. Also is one of the most loved dessert, and one of the trickiest desserts too. I had all the reasons to try and achieve the right texture and taste of pannacotta at home. After few trials and maths done in my diary (quantity and quality of ingredients), I have so many tips and tricks to make a perfect Panna Cotta at home, to share with you. To boost your confidence, I must say it’s not too complicated you can make it.
To boost your confidence, I must say it’s not too complicated you can make it.
Panna cotta is nothing but a softly set pudding that, at its most elemental, is made with cream, sugar, and gelatine. It originated in Northern Italy, and the name literally means cooked cream. Panna Cotta recipe is very simple and easy, but the important part here is the technique to make. The hardest part about making pannacotta is achieving the proper consistency and texture—it should be silky creamy smooth and just firm, with a gentle wobble.”
The hardest part about making pannacotta is achieving the proper consistency and texture—it should be silky creamy smooth and just firm, with a gentle wobble.”
I am gonna write below all the important points to make a great Panna Cotta at home. If you still have any doubts drop me a message, and I will be happy to help.
1 . First of all, for all those readers who don’t want to use gelatine. Agar agar (made from seaweed) is a great vegan substitute for gelatin. Agar-agar is easily available in powder form as well as in flakes.
The Ratio: As a general rule, you can substitute powdered agar agar for gelatin in equal amounts. So if a recipe calls for one teaspoon of gelatin, you can use one teaspoon of agar- agar powder.
However, if you have agar flakes, it is NOT a 1:1 ratio because the powder is more powerful than the flakes. One tablespoon of agar flakes is equal to one teaspoon of agar powder/gelatin.
How to use: For smooth results, the agar must dissolve completely into the liquid, and we have to heat the liquid when using agar agar.
The flakes are harder to dissolve so it’s best to break them up into small pieces using kitchen scissors before use. Add the flakes to liquid and over medium heat stir for a few minutes, bringing it to a boil until it is dissolved. Agar powder dissolves much faster but requires heating.
In this particular recipe for the best result: I suggest melt agar agar with milk and when done mix it with warm cream.
Tip: If you are using leaf gelatin – 1 tablespoon powdered gelatin = 3 sheets leaf gelatin.
2 . To make the pannacotta using gelatine: Use unflavored powdered gelatin. Unflavored gelatin is tiny granules that are tasteless, colourless, and odourless. It is used as a thickening agent but only becomes active when dissolved in a hot liquid.
Sprinkle the gelatin over cold liquid (in this case milk) which allows the gelatin to soften, swell, and become spongy (bloom). Meanwhile, heat the sugar and heavy cream until hot. Once the cream is hot, stir in the softened gelatin. The gelatin then needs to be gently warmed so the granules completely dissolve and the proteins become activated. Make sure all the gelatin granules are dissolved.
3 . To check rub a little bit of the cream mixture between your fingers — there shouldn’t be any grit from undissolved sugar or gelatin.
4 . A perfect pannacotta should have just enough gelatine that when unmoulded it should seem as if the cream is barely holding together. It quivers when you touch it. So be very careful when measuring the ingredients.
Because if there’s too much gelatin, the pannacotta feels stiff and cheesy. Too little, you will have a puddle of creamy mess on the plate when you unmold it.
5 . If you want to make the Panna Cotta lighter in taste, texture, and calories. You can substitute milk or a lighter cream for some of the heavy cream. Remember to lower the fat content, especially if you use low-fat milk, the more likely you’ll need to increase the amount of gelatin used to keep your ratios in balance.
My basic calculation – 1 1/2 cups milk + 1/3 cup sugar + 2 1/4 teaspoons gelatin + 1 1/2 cups cream.
You can also make pannacotta with non-dairy options also – almond/coconut/soy milk can be used, or you can increase the fat a little by supplementing with a non-dairy creamer.
6 . Simmer, don’t boil: for heating your pannacotta base of cream and sugar. Always go slow and low when you heat cream for a dairy-based dessert to avoid separation (that means keeping temperatures slightly below the boiling point, also don’t walk away while you’re heating your base.
7. Using Vanilla – Pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean, both will work great. Vanilla bean will give tiny light dots in the pudding which kind of looks cool when you serve the dish.
8. The more shallow the dish, the faster the pudding will set, and it also looks elegant on the table. Ideally, it should be about 5 or 6 ounces.
9 . If your chilled pannacotta separates into layers of milk and cream, it can happen because of the following reasons:
a) The gelatine was not bloomed
b) Pannacotta mixture was hot when you poured it in cups to set.
10. Straining the final mixture just before you pour it into moulds to set will give your pannacotta the smoothest texture.
11. To unmould your pannacotta: a) Be sure to chill it for about four hours before you try to release it.
b) Oil each mould with a flavourless oil — and use a light hand while doing so, for best results.
c) Run a knife around the edge of each to release each from its mould; or, dip each mould for just a few seconds at a time into a shallow container of hot water before turning out.
And if your pannacotta just won’t release, eat it in the mould.
12. Lastly, I have made some roasted plums to go with the pannacotta. They give a beautiful contrast to the sweetness of the dessert. You can opt for any seasonal fruit.
I have used some red wine and sugar and star anise to roast the plums. You can substitute the red wine with fruit juice. And don’t forget to balance the flavour of the sauce. It should be slightly tangy and sweet.
For the pannacotta
540ml of double cream
60 ml of cold milk
7 gm of gelatine powder
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 vanilla pod or 1 tsp of vanilla extract
6 to 7 plums
50 gm of caster sugar
100ml of red wine
pinch of salt
1 whole star anise
Prepare the moulds by lightly brushing them with vegetable oil and set aside. In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the cold milk and let this mixture sit for about 5 – 10 minutes. It will soften, swell, and become spongy.
Meanwhile, combine the cream and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring it just to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Once the cream is very hot, remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the softened gelatin mixture.
Stir until the gelatin has completely dissolved. Stir in the vanilla paste or extract.
Pour the cream into the dessert cups and place in the refrigerator to chill for two to four hours, or until set.
For the Roasted plum
Preheat your oven to 180*C. Half the plums and remove the stones.
Place them cut side up in a small roasting tray, add star anise, sprinkle the sugar and salt on top and pour red wine.
Put in the oven and roast for 15 min depending on the size of the plums. Make sure that plums don’t get mushy they should be soft and hold their shape.
When ready remove the plums and pour the sauce into a small pan and bring to the boil. Reduce until syrupy thick.
When set, remove pannacotta from the moulds (you will need to run a knife around the internal edge of your mould and dip each mould for just a few seconds at a time into a shallow container of hot water before turning out).
Serve straight away with warm roasted plums and red wine reduction sauce.