He stood opposite her attentively, waiting. She was hesitant, unsure if she had made a mistake. Under the dim lights, he flashed a reassuring smile urging her to take a bite. Sucking her lip, she drew her gaze down to examine what he had presented to her, an Italian Panna Cotta.
With her index finger, she softly trailed a small circle on the pearly surface. Uncontrollably, it shivered under her touch. She lifted her finger to her lips, tracing the tip with her tongue. Her eyes widened in surprise as a small gasp of pleasure escaped from her mouth. It was unexpectant, like nothing she had ever experienced before.
Impatiently, she picked up her spoon and took another mouthful. It was creamy, smooth almost like velvet with the subtle hint of vanilla. In satisfaction, he grinned watching her as she savored the flavors in her mouth.
In exclamation, she whispered breathlessly “I don’t normally like dessert.. but this…” Words failed her.
Leaning forward, he picked up the stem of the empty wine glass and placed it on the serving tray delicately. Balancing the glass precariously, he returned to the kitchen smiling. His work was done.
With her spoon, she toyed with the panna cotta to observe the ingredients closer. It was creamy but still fresh, sweet but not too overpowering. With her long fingers, she brought a berry to her lips. It exploded in her mouth, blanketing her tongue with the floral juice and seeds. Surprisingly, the cream didn’t pair nicely with the luscious fruit. Instead, it emphasized the berries sharpness and perfumed flavor. It was the perfect match between cream and acid.
Since tasting my first panna cotta, I have come to the conclusion it is my favorite dessert. I have sampled many variations. I have tested and tried, but this recipe is by far my favorite.
It’s my go-to dessert when I prepare an indulgent meal with my partner, or for those cheeky nights alone. After all, who needs an excuse to entertain life’s simplest of pleasures? 😉
- 3 cups chilled water
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup cream
- 3 small gelatine leaves / sheets*
- 1 vanilla bean
- 3 tablespoons raw sugar
- fresh raspberries, to serve
- mint sprigs, for garnish
- 1 organic egg, whites separated
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon raw cocoa
- 1 cup of frozen raspberries*
- 2 teaspoons lemon rind, optional.
- Soak the gelatine leaves in chilled water for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan add the milk, cream, and sugar. Using a small knife, cut the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds from the inside of the bean. Include the vanilla bean and the seeds to the saucepan. Slowly heat the cream mixture over a low to medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring regularly, ensuring that the mixture does not come to the boil.
- Once warmed, remove the saucepan from the heat. Being mindful of the temperature, remove the vanilla bean from the cream mixture and discard.
- Remove the gelatine from the chilled water, drain well. Include the gelatine to the cream mixture and stir regularly, until dissolved.
- Pour the cream mixture through a sieve to remove any lumps, and into four small to medium sized ramekins. Refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours, or overnight.
- In a blender or food processor, add the organic egg whites and coconut oil. Blend until the mixture is fluffy. Include the coconut flour, sugar, and raw cocoa blending until mixed together. Refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour, or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
- Drop 1 teaspoon of tuile batter on one tray and use a spatula to spread the mixture into a rectangle. Repeat with remaining batter, allowing room for spreading.
- Bake 1 tray for 5 - 10 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove and repeat with remaining trays.
- Ensure the raspberries are defrosted. Using a blender or food processor, blend the raspberries> and lemon rind into a smooth mixture.
- Take the panda cottas out of the fridge. Pour the raspberry coulis over the panda cotta, top with fresh raspberries and garnish the the chocolate tuile and fresh mint. Bon Appétit! 🙂
- * for vegetarian alternative to gelatine, use agar-agar, carrageen or vegan-gel
- * fresh raspberries can be tart. Using frozen raspberries ensures the coulis is sweet