NOTE: These babies are cooling in the walk in up at work right now, I had to take cell-phone picture today but I will have more, 10 mega pixels pictures, on the maro with the finished decorations and more pictures of the ingredients.
My cooking mentor once told me "To make good food you must understand the food, to understand the food you must know the history and chemical reactions of the food...Or you could just add some vanilla and caramel to it." So now I'm going to give you a brief history of pannacotta, so skip to the next page if you don't care like me.
Pannacotta literately means "cooked cream" or "cooked custard" in Italian. The main ingredients that make panna panna are the gelatin powder and the heavy cream. without them you would just have a semi-gooey-teeth-roting-thing (sounds like my next instructable). The heat activates the gelatin and when mixed with the heavy cream then refrigerated it will form a solid. The sugar is added to help with the sweetness a bit and even out the vanilla taste. Milk is used to make the panna not a solid chunk and more like jello. Finally Vanilla is used just because I love the taste and because of the combination of the types I'm using it will add some appearance to the dessert.
Step 1: Hunt and Gather
Stove pot (1 quart or more)
X 4-5 oz. containers
Unflavored Gelatin - 1 oz. envelope
Milk - .5 cups
Heavy Cream (Whipping Cream) - 2.5 cups
Sugar - .5 cups
Vanilla - Differs by type of vanilla, see vanilla page.
Step 2: Gelatin and Sugar
Step 3: Add the Milk
Step 4: Bring the Heat
To check if they are dissolved dip your index finger in the mix and rub it with your thumb, if you don't feel grains it is dissolved; I would check in a few spots just to be sure.
Step 5: Take Off the Heat
Carefully measure out the heavy cream and add to mix then stir until mixed extremely well.
Step 6: Vanilla
This is alot harder than it seams because of the different types of vanilla that are out on the market so i have made up a chart of how much of each type to use
Imitation vanilla extract:1 tablespoon
Pure Vanilla extract: 3 teaspoons
Madagascar and Mexican Vanilla: 2 teaspoons
Madagascar vanilla bean paste: 1.5 teaspoons
My combination of pure vanilla extract and vanilla bean paste : 1 teaspoon of the abstract and 1 teaspoon of the paste.
Step 7: Pour Into Dishes
Ladle out 4-5 oz. of the mix into the dishes and wrap with the plastic wrap to make it air-tight.
Now refrigerate for 4-6 hours, if it dose not set into a solid-esq thing you did not dissolve the grains all the way.
Step 8: Lets Get Creative
Cut off the stem of a strawberry and let the main part of the berry float cut-side up in the panna.
Make your own sauce, dressing, or syrup to decorate the dish.
experiment with food colorings and designed pans
Make a Panna-Cake by not separating the mix and just putting it into a cake pan.
Let your imagination run loose and test the limits of cooking. Feel free to message me with ideas and I will try them for you.