Monday, January 25, 2010

Recipe #17: Chocolate Panna Cotta with Raspberry Sauce

First off, I apologize for taking a break -- between holidays, a sick baby, and having my wisdom teeth out, I've been a busy lady. Anywho, on with the show!

The first time I ever had Panna Cotta was at Pompeii Caesar inside Mohegan Sun Casino. It's a very expensive (albeit absolutely delicious) Italian restaurant inside the older part of the casino. I went there to have lunch with a reporter from Rolling Stone for an interview she was doing on myself and a bunch of other teen girls from my town (the rest of this is such another story for another day/blog/etc.). While we were there, the reporter let me order anything I wanted and after whatever my entree was, and at the tender age of 14, as long as it was being paid for by someone else, of course I wanted dessert.

I'd never had it before, but with literally the first bite, I was IN LOVE. It was creamy and delicious and like a little bite of heaven.

Cut to 11 years later, and I'm trying to come up with a nice dessert to make my husband after a long week of taking care of me after I had my wisdom teeth out. I thought of panna cotta, but there's only one problem -- he won't eat anything vanilla, custardy, pudding-like or creamy. No problem, I'll add chocolate and a touch of raspberry. Please note -- I usually include photos of my entire process, but since the first part, where I actually made the cream that I used, went so quickly, I didn't really get any photos. I did take photos while making the raspberry sauce, because that process was actually tougher. But trust me when I say that the words alone will be enough. It's a pretty simple recipe.

In the end, he loved it, and he's actually the one who suggested I blog my recipe. We thought it was delicious, and considering it made 8 servings, we'll happily be enjoying it for dessert for a couple more days.

Chocolate Panna Cotta with Raspberry Sauce

Cook time: 10 minutes
Cooling time: 15 minutes
Chill time: 4 to 24 hours

1 small packet unflavored gelatin
4 cups heavy cream or whipping cram
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons plus one teaspoon water
1 8-ounce container of sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup fresh raspberries

large saucepan
mixing bowl
8 medium-sized (about 4 oz.) ramekins or containers for serving
ladle/large mixing spoon
food processor (optional)
small saucepan
handheld strainer/sifter

Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler, or microwave for 30 second intervals and stir, until melted. Set aside.

Take 1 cup heavy cream and whip until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

Mix gelatin with 2 tablespoons water and set aside. This will set in the container within 2 or 3 minutes. That's OK. It's supposed to.

In large saucepan, heat 1/2 cup sugar, cream, cocoa powder and vanilla over medium heat, but stir continuously to avoid boiling. Once heated through, add the set gelatin mixture. Stir until you don't feel any grainy pieces of the gelatin and remove from heat immediately. Pour in melted chocolate and stir to combine. Allow to cool thoroughly for about 15 minutes.

In mixing bowl, empty sour cream container. Once the cream-sugar mixture has completely cooled, use ladle to add spoonfuls of the mixture to the sour cream. Whisk to keep airy/light. Add the whipped cream. Once completely combined, pour into ramekins or serving containers and chill for at least for (up to 24) hours in refrigerator.

For raspberry sauce: Add raspberries to food processor and puree. If you do not have a food processor, use a fork to crush the raspberries, or a knife to chop. Add to small saucepan with remaining 1/2 cup sugar and teaspoon of water.

Cook over medium high heat until sugar has caramelized and is melted completely. Mixture should be bubbling.

Remove from heat. Set strainer/sifter on top of a bowl, and pour raspberry mix into it. Using a fork or spoon, move raspberry mixture around so as to move the remaining flesh and juice into the bowl, keeping seeds in sifter.

Please note: The yellow on the right hand side in the below picture is the reflection of the light in my kitchen. I didn't add anything to the mixture. :)

Panna cotta can be served in the ramekin/container or on a plate. To remove from ramekin, run a knife around the edge and turn ramekin over onto plate and tap the bottom. If the panna cotta doesn't come out right away, continue running the knife around the edges. This will separate it from the container.

Serve topped with raspberry sauce.


-Strainer/sifter: If you don't know what I'm talking about, here's a better picture of this tool.

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