Sunday, December 20, 2015

Eggnog Panna Cotta

Making panna cotta is a great way to impress your friends and family. Not only does it have a fancy Italian name but it's also super luxurious on the palate. But it's actually relatively simple to make PLUS it's one of those desserts you can make ahead of time! Textually similar to a baked custard, like creme brulee, panna cotta is just cream and gelatin with sweetner and maybe some vanilla. The gelatin is what gives it its creaminess instead of eggs likes in a custard. But since it is the holidays, why not go all out and combine custard and panna cotta for something super fancy!? This does take a little more time to prep than a traditional panna cotta, but will be so worth it when you show up to a party with these.

Eggnog Panna Cotta

What you'll need:
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (or almond milk for dairy free)
  • 1 cup cream (or full fat canned coconut milk for dairy free)
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 5 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 3/4 tsp gelatin (I used this)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tsp cognac (optional)
  • 1 1/2 tsp rum (optional)
What to do:
  1. In a bowl, add the cream, keep it cold by placing this bowl in a larger bowl full of iced water. Set aside.  Bloom the gelatin by adding about 1-2 tbsp of the cold cream (just scoop it from the bowl) to the gelatin powder in a small bowl. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks and maple syrup together until combined. In a sauce pan, heat the milk (or almond milk) with nutmeg and cinnamon over medium heat until tiny bubbles start to form around the edges and the milk is steaming. Don't let it boil or it will curdle. 
  2. While continuously whisking, slowly temper the egg yolk mixture by adding the hot milk to the yolks. Make sure to go slow or you'll just end up with scrambled eggs. Once you've added all the milk to the yolks, pour the entire thing back into the sauce pan and heat over medium heat. 
  3. While stirring the custard mixture (I like to use a push/pull zigzag movement for this), add the bloomed gelatin. Keep stirring until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon. 
  4. Set a mesh strainer over the bowl with the chilled cream. Remove the custard mixture from the heat and strain the custard into the bowl of the chilled cream. Stir in the vanilla and alcohol (if using) until combined. 
  5. Ladle the panna cotta into your jars/ramekins/dessert cups. Let it set in the fridge overnight. Serve chilled with a fruit compote (I made a blackberry compote for this), or as is!


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