There’s nothing like a series of hot, sunny days to put me in the holiday spirit! Sure enough, there’s a month to go before Summer vacation starts, but with the weather being far less temperamental and rather increasingly consistent, it feels like my mind is already starting to wind down with the year. Summer is practically here and I’m quite looking forward to it!
Extra hours of sun means more time outdoors, and more time outdoors obviously means less time in the kitchen, but that doesn’t mean our taste buds need to suffer the brunt for our frivolousness! You’ll obviously need a sweet treat to accompany your Summer Braai, family get together, or end of year function and I have the perfect Summer treat. This dessert is so fabulous, it will have you in and out of the kitchen without breaking a sweat!
Panna Cotta is an Italian dessert which literally means “thickened cream”. It is quick and easy to make and practically fool proof. When I first tasted Panna Cotta, I almost expected a laborious recipe attached to this indulgently smooth and creamy, easy on the tongue dessert. I was kind of surprised at the short list of ingredients….and even more shocked at the amount of time spent behind the stove…Never would I have guessed that a few kitchen basics could turn out this fantastic!
Ingredients (for Panna Cotta)
- 1 cup full cream milk
- 1 cup fresh cream
- 1 cup coconut milk/cream
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 15 ml gelatine
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Pour the milk, cream and coconut milk into the saucepan and sprinkle the powdered gelatin evenly over top. Let soften for 5 minutes or until the surface of the milk is wrinkled and the gelatin grains look wet.
- Dissolve the gelatin over low heat: Set the saucepan over low heat and warm the milk gently, stirring or whisking frequently. The milk should never boil or simmer; if you see steam, remove the pot from the stove and let it cool down. The milk should get hot, but not so hot that you can’t leave your finger in the pot for a few seconds. The gelatin will dissolve quickly as the milk warms; it melts at body temperature so this step should go quickly.
- Dissolve the sugar: Stir the sugar into the milk and continue warming until it dissolves as well. It shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes total to dissolve both the gelatine and sugar. Again, never let the mixture boil. Once sugar and gelatine is dissolved, add vanilla extract.
Pour into the ramekins and chill: Divide the mixture evenly between either greased ramekins or moulds, or in mini shot glasses like I have done with mine and put in the refrigerator to chill. If serving straight from the cups, without unmolding, chill for 1 to 2 hours. If you want to unmold the panna cotta, chill for at least 4 hours or overnight. I personally think it’s best to chill overnight either way.
* Be careful not to boil the gelatine as this destroys it’s thickening power and your dessert won’t set.
There are several ways to decorate a Panna Cotta dessert, many opting for fruity flavoured toppings. I’ve opted for a very easy to make, fresh, summery, Mixed Berry Coulis! If I knew it was this easy, I would’ve made it a lot sooner!
- BERRY COULIS
- 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen berries
- 3 Tablespoons water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- Add al ingredients to a pot and cook on medium heat, stirring every now an again until sugar is dissolves. This takes about 5 minutes.
- Once berries start to burst, remove from heat. Cool down slightly and then blend until smooth.
- Pour through a sieve, using a spoon or spatula to work the syrup through with only the seeds remaining behind. Don’t forget to scrape some of the yummy goodness stuck to the bottom of the sieve
- What you are left with is a thick, glossy Coulis!
*Any leftover Coulis can be frozen to use at another time.
Thanks for reading!