Italian Recipe: Panna Cotta with Strawberry Coulis from our Bestselling Amalfi Coast Cooking Vacation
If you're looking for an impressive but simple dessert for your next dinner party, look no further than this panna cotta recipe from Chef Carmen of our cooking vacation Mediterranean Cooking Experience. The origins of this dessert are thought to hail back to northern Italy, particularly the Piedmont area, but it's also long been a popular dessert throughout the country, and that includes the Amalfi Coast.
While achieving a good texture — slightly firm but also silky smooth — is important to making this beautiful dessert, it's shockingly simple to achieve. It also may take some time to set, but the actual time you'll personally spend in the kitchen making the dessert is quite short. That's due, in part, to the relatively few ingredients. The base of most panna cottas are made with only gelatin, sugar, and cream, and even the name of the dessert is Italian for "cooked cream."
What makes each panna cotta recipe unique is actually not the way the base is made – although there can be some variations, such as replacing the milk with rice milk — but what the dessert is topped and flavored with. In Chef Carmen's recipe, she suggests a simple but delicious strawberry coulis, which brightens up the dish.
Serves 10 small portions
For the panna cotta
* 4 slices of flavorless gelatin
* 2 1/4 cups milk
* 2 1/4 cups fresh cream
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/2 cup sugar
For the strawberry coulis
* 1/3 cup sugar
* 10 to 12 large strawberries
1. Immerse the gelatin in cold water for 10 to 15 minutes.
2. Put the milk, vanilla, and sugar into a pot, and cook on low heat until it boils. Remove from the stove top, and add the gelatin and cream.
3. Mix the gelatin until it dissolves.
4. Filter the mixture through a strainer, and pour the mixture into 1/2 cup individual molds.
5. Refrigerate for 5 hours (It's best prepared the night before serving).
6. When you're about ready to serve the dish, immerse the individuals molds in hot water for a few seconds, so it's easier to remove the mold.
7. Turn the panna cotta over onto a plate.
8. Make the strawberry coulis by pureeing the strawberries and the sugar in a blender. Strain this mix.
9. Garnish the dessert with the strawberry coulis, as well as a few sliced strawberries.
For more recipes, visit Chef Carmen at our cooking vacation Mediterranean Cooking Experience and check out our recipe archive.
By Liz Hall