#011: Exploring the world of Panna Cotta ~ with the perfectly balanced recipe for Panna cotta with roasted rhubarb ~

Content:

  • Should it be all cream or should we add yogurt and milk too?
  • Accompany it with sauce, compote and texture
  • Champion seasonality and locality
  • Seasonal fruit/ nut/ herb chart for the sauce/ compote
  • The panna cotta itself can be flavoured too
  • The ingredients that changes the gelatine strength
  • Should the dessert be less creamy for summer?
  • The all-important gelatine to liquid ratio for the jiggle
  • Gelatine conversion formula by bloom strength
  • Using gelatine sheets rather than powdered
  • De-moulding hack
  • Panna Cotta with Roasted Rhubarb Recipe

Panna Cotta Recipe - Panna cotta with roasted rhubarb recipe - step-by-step pictures - Basics of Happy - www.basicsofhappy.com(The texture is creamy.)

Should it be all cream or should we add yogurt and milk too?
When panna cotta is made from all-cream, it is luxuriously rich. But indeed as you’d suspect, it is heavy on the palate (especially if eaten on its own with no sauce to accompany it). The dessert is just ‘set’ cream after all, so what do you expect? I don’t know if it’s just me, but after a while, I find the heavy cream sickly, and the initial grin (that is reminiscent of the cat that got the cream) lower to a lesser degree as I eat. This is often the case for me especially if the dessert is after a big meal. Who knew that sometimes too much luxury is an over-kill! 

To remedy the problem, some panna cotta recipes recommend you replace some of the cream with yoghurt and milk to make it less heavy, which I think is a brilliant idea. Although, I remember the first time I tried this, it turned out too yogurt-y. The pronounced yogurt-y tang was robbing a ride to the promised cream-heaven that is panna cotta. From this I realised that delicate balance work is needed between the yoghurt and cream so that it doesn’t become a ‘set yoghurt’ instead.

Ideal panna cotta = the delicate balance of cream + yogurt + milk

Accompany it with sauce, compote and texture:  
This dessert is crying out to be eaten with something else, a sauce perhaps, or a fruit compote. Otherwise the eating experience is monotone. Imagine how awesome it will taste with the sweet sour notes from the rhubarb, or the floral accent of elderflower, for example! Soft compotes and sauces are going to be great but how about exploring different textures, say a crunchy texture to go with the panna cotta, like a tuile? It’ sure to satisfy the senses!

Champion seasonality and locality:
Panna cotta could be the perfect canvas to mirror what is available to you. Just like how every haiku poem must mention seasonality, it’ll be a shame not to showcase seasons in your food, because for one, it tastes a lot better in the height of their season, and two, seasonal food is produced in-land, and didn’t travel by air-freight, clocking the food miles. So, below, I made a chart to help you choose which fruit/ nut/ herb to use per month for your compote/ sauce. The ingredients in RED CAPITALS are not imported (I write this from UK). I have also included herbs in the list because I saw sage infused panna cotta on telly, and it looked rather good!

Seasonal fruit/ nut/ herb chart for the sauce/ compote:

Month Fruits/ nuts/ herbs in season
January APPLE, blood oranges, CHESTNUT, clementines, kiwi fruit, lemon, oranges, passion fruit, PEAR, pineapple, pomegranate, RHUBARB, satsumas, tangerines. Almonds, brazil nuts, walnuts.
February APPLE, banana, blood oranges, CHESTNUT, clementines, grapefruit, kiwi fruit, lemon, oranges, passion fruit, pineapple, RHUBARB.
March APPLE, banana blood oranges, CHESTNUT, clementine, date, grapefruit, kiwi fruit, lemon, oranges, passion fruit, pineapple, pomegranate, RHUBARB. NETTLE TOPS.
April APPLE, banana, grapefruit, kiwi fruit, mango, pineapple, RHUBARB. BASIL, CHIVES, DILL, NETTLE TOPS. SORREL.
May APRICOT, banana, BLACKCURRANT,, GOOSEBERRY, grapefruit, kiwi fruit, mango, nectarine, RHUBARB, STRAWBERRY, BASIL, CHERVIL, CHIVES CORRIANDER, DILL, ELDERFLOWER, OREGANO, MINT, NASTURTIUM, PARSLEY (curly), ROSEMARY, SAGE, SORREL, TARRAGON.
June APRICOT, BILBERRY, BLACKCURRANT, BLUEBERRY, CHERRY, GOOSEBERRIES, GREENGAGE, kiwi fruit, mango, nectarine, peaches, RASPBERRIES, RED CURRANT, RHUBARB, STRAWBERRY, water melon. BASIL, CHERVIL, CHIVES, CORRIANDER, DILL, ELDERFLOWER, OREGANO, MINT, NASTURTIUM, PARSLEY (curly & flat), ROSEMARY, SAGE, SORREL, TARRAGON, THYME.
July APRICOT, BILBERRY, BLACKCURRANT, BLUEBERRY, CHERRY, GOOSEBERRIES, GREENGAGE, fig, kiwi fruit, LOGANBERRY, mango, nectarine, peaches, RASPBERRIES, RED CURRANT, STRAWBERRY, TAYBERRIES, water melon, WHITE CURRANTS. BASIL, CHERVIL, CHIVES, CORRIANDER, DILL, ELDERFLOWER, OREGANO, MINT, NASTURTIUM, PARSLEY (curly & flat), ROSEMARY, SAGE, SORREL, TARRAGON, THYME.
August APPLE, APRICOT, BILBERRY, BLACKBERRY, BLUEBERRY, CHERRY, DAMSON, ELDERBERRY, fig, GREENGAGE, GOOSEBERRY, LOGANBERRY, melons, nectarines, peaches, PLUMS, RASPBERRIES, RED CURRANT, STRAWBERRY, TAYBERRIES, water melons. BASIL, CHERVIL, CHIVES, CORRIANDER, OREGANO, MINT, PARSLEY (curly & flat), ROSEMARY, SAGE, SORREL, TARRAGON, THYME.
September APPLE, APRICOT, BILBERRY, BLACKBERRY, DAMSON, ELDERBERRY, fig, GOOSEBERRY, grape, LOGANBERRY, MEDLAR, melons, nectarines, peaches, PEAR, PLUMS, RASPBERRIES, RED CURRANT, RASPBERRIES, RED CURRANT, STRAWBERRY. CHESTNUTS, CHIVES, COB NUTS, CORRIANDER, OREGANO, MINT, PARSLEY (curly & flat) , ROSEMARY, SAGE, SORREL, TARRAGON, THYME.
October APPLE, BILBERRY, BLACKBERRY, cranberry, DAMSON, date, ELDERBERRY, fig, grape, MEDLAR, PEAR, PLUM, QUINCE. Almonds, brazil nuts, CHESTNUT, CHIVES, COB NUTS, hazelnuts, PARSLEY (curly), ROSEMARY, SAGE, SORREL, THYME, walnuts.
November APPLE, clementines, cranberry, date, MEDLAR, passion fruit, PEAR, pomegranate, QUINCE, satsumas. Almonds, brazil nuts, CHESTNUT, COB NUTS, hazelnuts, ROSEMARY, SAGE, walnuts.
December APPLE, clementines, cranberry, date, grapefruit, MEDLAR, passion fruit, PEAR, pineapple, pomegranate, QUINCE, satsumas, tangerines. Almonds, brazil nuts, CHESTNUT, hazelnuts, walnuts.

The panna cotta itself can be flavoured too:
Some examples: chocolate, coffee (espresso, cappuccino, latte), caramel, teas (matcha, earl grey, chai, ‘royal milk tea’), sugar alternatives (honey, maple syrup), milk alternatives (buttermilk, condensed milk, almond milk, coconut milk, oat milk), rose water (you can pick roses from garden and infuse your ingredients with it!), cordial (elderflower, fruit), liquor (rum, Baileys, Amaretto, Cointreau, Kahlua – like Big Lebowski white russian!), and many more possibilities, although caution must be taken as some ingredients can inhibit the gelatine from setting (read below).

The ingredients that changes the gelatine strength:
The following ingredients deteriorates the physical properties of gelatine and make it difficult to set.

Fig, guava, ginger, kiwi fruit, lemon, lime, passion fruit, peach, pineapple, papaya, paw paw, mango, melon, pomegranate, rhubarb, wine.

There are two reasons for this. Some of these contain enzymes which break down the protein molecules that would’ve normally tangled in to a water-suspending/ water-trapping structure that set the gelatine. (However if you are really ‘set’ on using these ingredients, there is a way around this. You can ‘denature’ them by heating it to about 158° F (70° Celsius) to destroy the unwanted enzymes.) Then there are some ingredients with too much acidity (pH 4 and under). These also play havoc with your gelatine structure.

Should the dessert be less creamy for summer?
I’m going to throw this one in as just food for thought, but, considering how our bodies crave for lighter foods in the summer, whereas we hanker for luxurious and rich foods in the winter, should the dessert also consider this aspect?


The all-important gelatine to liquid ratio for the jiggle:
The cream mixture to gelatine ratio must be respected when making this dessert. Too much gelatine makes a tough panna cotta, and who’d want that!? Yet too little gelatine then we have a creamy puddle on your plate that tastes like melted ice cream.
So how soft is the ideal panna cotta you say? I want a panna cotta that doesn’t have a puddle, yet is soft enough that it wobbles. Yes, it’s got to wobble. Wobble and jiggle. – That is the mark of success! And I want the spoon to glide through it without resistance. The texture is even softer than crème brûlée and crème caramel. For my recipe at the end of this article, I managed to precisely tune the ratio to my liking. It is super-soft, yet doesn’t leave a puddle on your plate. And needless to say, it jiggles like mad.

But I feel here is where many people are let down by many panna cotta recipes out there. – The problem with trying to write a recipe for others to use is that the readers are most probably be using a different type of gelatine. The bloom strength (gelling ability) has four stages which ranges from 125 to 265! Sigh, it’s never straight forward is it?? So for my recipe below, I have noted down which gelatine product I used. It is called Dr. Oetker Leaf Gelatine, It is ‘platinum’ strength and each sheet is 1.625g. Hopefully this information will help you as this product is widely available in UK supermarkets. – If you can’t get hold of this nor a platinum strength (your packet should say which bloom strength it is), please use the conversion formula just below to calculate yours compared to mine.

Gelatine conversion formula by bloom strength:

From bronze to: silver = multiply by 0.96
gold= multiply by 0.65
platinum = multiply by 0.53
From silver to: bronze = multiply by 1.28
gold= multiply by 0.84
platinum = multiply by 0.68
From gold to: bronze = multiply by 1.52
silver = multiply by 1.18
platinum = multiply by 0.81
From platinum to: bronze = multiply by 1.88
silver = multiply by 1.47
gold= multiply by 1.2

(Information from http://spycook.blogspot.com/2012/02/gelatin-conversion-factors.html)

You can calculate how heavy your sheets are using the following example method: If a packet of 8 leafs says it’s 13g inside, you can do the maths (13 divided by 8) and determine that each leaf must be 1.625 grams heavy. 🙂

And oh by the way, I prefer using gelatine sheets rather than powdered.
Because my standard kitchen scale just isn’t precise enough to register small changes in grams! For exampIe, I put half a teaspoon of powder on a scale for example and it’ll still register 0 grams. Lol… So unless you own a decimal-precision scale that jewellers might use (or the ones that drug dealers use for that matter!!?), I recommend using sheets instead. As the amount of gelatine makes or breaks this dessert, you’d be better off with sheets that you know exactly how much each weighs. Just like the calculation in the last paragraph, it’s so easy to determine the precise weight if it is a sheet! 🙂

De-moulding hack:

  • Firstly, lightly greasing the mould with a neutral taste oil really helps to glide it out. Don’t worry, the dessert won’t be greasy!
  • Secondly, score around the edges with a warmed knife. It helps to cut into the dessert without leaving a jaggerdy edge.
  • Thirdly, only dip the sides in hot water for a few seconds. Any longer, then the sides would turn liquidy. The panna cotta is only really stuck to the mould at the top edges which you have already scored around, so it should be easy to release.
  • Finally, instead on shaking it up and down, twirl! Seriously! Like a figure skater or ballet dancer while holding the mould upside down on a plate. The sideways rotation creates G-force friction between the mould and panna cotta, creating a pocket of air. Just make sure to hold the mould and plate firmly together, lest it flies across your kitchen…

 Perfectly Balanced Panna Cotta with Roasted Rhubarb Recipe: 

Description:
Panna cotta is the champion of no-bake desserts! It’s so easy to make, and the quickest to make (minus the fridge-resting time). It’s convenient too because you can make this in advance. It’s a win-win-win! 🙂 In the recipe below, I carefully balanced the yogurt to cream ratio so that the characteristic tang from the yogurt isn’t too pronounced in the final product. And some milk is added to make the dessert less heavy to the palate. That said, don’t worry though because it is still velvety and creamy regardless. Below the recipe there is also step-by-step pictures!

Ingredients:
2 sheets of gelatine (for your reference, I used 2 x Dr Oetker platinum grade leaf gelatine)
150ml plain yogurt (for your reference I used Oaken natural set yogurt)
100ml full-fat milk
200ml double cream
60g castor sugar
1 teaspoon of Vanilla bean paste
… You will also need a kitchen thermometer
… and moulds such as dariole moulds

Method:
1. Put 2 sheets of gelatine in cold water for 10 min to soften them.

2. In the meantime, grease the ramekin with a neutral tasting oil like vegetable oil. (You can skip this step if you intend to eat the panna cotta straight from the mould, and are not going to turn it out on to a plate.)

3. Pour 150ml of yogurt and 100ml of milk in to a bowl. Mix the two together thoroughly so that the yogurt is no longer lumpy. Leave this aside.

4. Start to heat 200ml of double cream and 60 grams of sugar in a small pot.

5. Wait until it is between 50°C to 60°C.

Tip:
Here, make sure that it is definitely below 60°C. Gelatine hydrates completely at temperatures between 50 to 60°C. Over 60°C will degrade the gelatine’s setting strength.

6. Squeeze the water out of the gelatine leaves. Here, make sure you really wring the excess water off, as you wouldn’t want to throw off the liquid to gelatine balance.

7. Dissolve the gelatine in the warm double cream/ sugar pot.

8. Add 1 teaspoon of Vanilla bean paste and mix.

9. Pour this in to a new bowl.

10. Pour the yogurt/ milk mix from step 3 over the warm cream/ gelatine mix.

Tip:
It is better to pour the cold (yogurt/ milk mix) in to the warm (cream/ gelatine mix). This way, the gelatine can slowly adapt to the cold. Otherwise the gelatine might get clumpy from sudden cold shock.) 

11. Sieve the mixture back to the bowl that had the yogurt/ milk mix.

Tip:
It’s good to sieve the mixture just incase there are any lumps of yogurt. It also blends together the mixture thoroughly.

12. Pour in to prepared moulds. Refrigerate for atleast 8 hours.

13. De-mould.

De-moulding hack:

  • Firstly, lightly greasing the mould with a neutral taste oil really helps to glide it out. Don’t worry, the dessert won’t be greasy!
  • Secondly, score around the edges with a warmed knife. It helps to cut into the dessert without leaving a jaggerdy edge.
  • Thirdly, only dip the sides in hot water for a few seconds. Any longer, then the sides would turn liquidy. The panna cotta is only really stuck to the mould at the top edges which you have already scored around, so it should be easy to release.
  • Finally, instead on shaking it up and down, twirl! Seriously! Like a figure skater or ballet dancer while holding the mould upside down on a plate. The sideways rotation creates G-force friction between the mould and panna cotta, creating a pocket of air. Just make sure to hold the mould and plate firmly together, lest it flies across your kitchen… 
  • Optional: Wet the plate slightly if you want to move (slide) around the panna cotta on the plate.

Bon Appétit! 🙂

Panna Cotta Recipe - Panna cotta with roasted rhubarb recipe - step-by-step pictures - Basics of Happy - www.basicsofhappy.com
(* For a link to a bent honey spoon on Amazon, click here)

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basicsofhappy_rhubarb

 Roasted Rhubarb Recipe: 

Description:
My preference to cooking rhubarb is definitely roasting it compared to poaching/ stewing, because the fruit will keep its shape. You can cut it in any length you like, but, again, my preference is in a diamond shape, because I think batons look like crab sticks! 🙂 I also like it syruppy, so I put in some fruit juice, but you can skip this if you want.

Ingredients:
Rhubarb
Sugar (1/10th of weight of rhubarb)
Fruit juice like orange or apple (1/5th of weight of rhubarb)

Method:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 200c.

2. Cut rhubarb in to preferred length. Put them in a mixing bowl.

3. Toss in some sugar (1/10th of weight of rhubarb).

4. If you like it syruppy, add some fruit juice (1/5th of weight of rhubarb) of choice.

5. Arrange the cut rhubarb as a single layer in baking tray.

6. Use either a foil or a sheet-pan as a lid. (You wouldn’t want burnt marks.)

7. Roast in oven for around 15 minutes, or until it is tender.

Panna Cotta Guide with recipe for panna cotta with roasted rhubarb - Basics of Happy - www.basicsofhappy.com(Exploring different shape moulds and plates! – My two favourite shapes were the tall one in the middle because it jiggled so well, and the fluted one because it’s cute and because it’s dinky sized!)

Phew! I hope you enjoyed reading this rather long article! 🙂

5 Replies to “#011: Exploring the world of Panna Cotta ~ with the perfectly balanced recipe for Panna cotta with roasted rhubarb ~”

  1. Cyndy Siddiq says:

    Helpful information. Lucky me I found your site accidentally, and I am stunned why this coincidence didn’t came about earlier! I bookmarked it.

    1. basicsofhappy says:

      Thank you Cyndy!!!!! x

  2. Hello! I really enjoyed reading this article! Thank you very much! It’s refreshing to see such thought-through recipe. I made panna cotta to your recipe and it was a great success! It also jiggled like your video. So thank you.

    1. basicsofhappy says:

      Thank you Ellie!!!!! x I love it when it jiggles!!!! 🙂

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