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Explain Panna Cotta to me

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This seems to be a new (or new to me) catchphrase du jour. I know it technically means "cooked bread", but I've seen it on menus that include savory presentations, as well as dessert...and our local newspaper had some recipes that focused on local, organic, heavy cream.

So exactly what is it?

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  1. It actually means cooked cream. It's really just flavored cream that's set with gelatin. I like mine lightly sweetened with sugar and vanilla and served with a raspberry sauce. One neat thing about it is, if you make it with Splenda, it works for low-carb diets since it's made with cream instead of milk.

    6 Replies
    1. re: gmm

      Oh, the "panna" word tricked me, LOL.

      So is it like a custard (never heard any mention of eggs). But it sounds like a flan/custard type thing.

      So just "cooked cream" - even with Splenda, it sounds fattening!

      1. re: Eujeanie

        i made some Panna Cotta a couple months back! thanks to MANY helpful hints from ChowHounders :) of course. thought i would copy the link in here for you. I ended up making mine in smaller plastic wine glasses (short, flat bottomed, wide at the top), with basic cream base and some vanilla bean. it was TASTY. especially with some fresh berry mixture on top.
        enjoy!
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/477979

        1. re: Eujeanie

          Yeah, low carb but definitely not low calorie! Though I had a friend who was doing the low carb thing and I remember him eating a plate of sausage and pepperoni covered in cheese. I think this would be healthier in comparison!

          1. re: Eujeanie

            It is more delicate and lighter on the palate than a custard. Whereas custard and flan rely on eggs to thicken the cream, panna cotta relies on gelatin. The trick is to use just enough gelatin to set the cream so that it melts on your tongue. Otherwise you end up with cream jell-o.

            1. re: JungMann

              Sounds delicious. I'm not planning on making it quite yet, but I've got an upcoming trip and it seems to be on almost every menu in one form or another (both savory and sweet). I might do a taste test and have one every day!

              Loved the Hello Kitty molds!

              1. re: Eujeanie

                I had my first Panna Cotta back in June, and it was fabulous. I am not big on sweets, but this was a birthday treat provided by the restaurant. It had a saba sauce on it. Looked like caramel but is made with grapes. My friend and I gobbled it down and wanted to lick the bowl.