The best panna cotta
I've avoided panna cotta for quite some time. Besides being lactose intolerant, I just don't like that tangy custard, like plain yogurt. That was until I had the raspberry panna cotta at Gramercy Tavern last week. Wow...I am converted, now I can't wait to have more.
Any ideas where there's really good panna cotta? Especially someplace where I don't have to plunk down $200 for the tasting menu only to wait for the awesome dessert?
BTW, the vegetable and NY tasting menus at GT were phenomenal, too.
One thing to realize: if you have custard cups around, panna cotta is one of the world's easiest desserts to make. Much easier than cup custards!
The basic recipe is 4 cups rich, rich milk; 1/2 cup sugar, 1-2 packets gelatin, vanilla (either bean or extract).
How rich the milk is is your choice. I have seen recipes all the way from just heavy cream to lowfat milk. My own preference is a mixture of milk and heavy cream. I use about 1 1/2 packets of gelatin.
Dissolve the gelatine in a few tablespoons of water. It will not be liquid, but a heavy paste.
Heat the milk and sugar until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is just coming to a simmer. If you are using a vanilla pod, spit it and add it to this mixture before you begin to heat it. When the milk is hot, take it off the fire and add the gelatin. Stir until dissolved. Strain it into a dish, remove seed from vanilla bean if you are using it, and add it to the mixture, or add the vanilla extract now. I also like to add a bit of almond extract at this point.
Pour into custard cups, let cool at bit, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. When you are ready to serve, put the custard cups in hot water for a very short while, and invert over a plate.
A simple way to serve is to mix good-quality frozen raspberries with a bit of sugar, and leave them at room temperature for a couple of hours to defrost and develop flavor.