My 194th recipe, “Vanilla Panna Cotta with Strawberry Sauce”, an amazing Italian dessert, which translates to cooked cream. It is a slightly warmed and flavored cream set into shape using gelatin / agar agar.
I had a particular interest with jellies during my childhood. I used to have them frequently when I was a kid. So when I first saw a wobbly panna cotta, when I was watching a cooking completion on a local TV channel, it caught my attention immediately. The participant had made the perfect creamy and wobbly panna cotta and I was so impressed that I wanted to make one.
When I came to know that gelatin was used in setting the panna cotta, I was not too sure if I can try it. Though it was on my to do list, it was long forgotten. When I found out that agar agar was a good vegetarian substitute for gelatin, recently, it rekindled the interest in me to make a panna cotta.
I had to scout through the web for a long time since I could not find a recipe using agar agar which was easy and pleasing to me. Finally I settled on making the panna cotta from here. Since I wanted to have a strawberry sauce by the side instead of rhubarb, I came up with a basic strawberry sauce. The panna cotta itself was perfectly set, creamy, mildly sweet and aromatic with the vanilla. The sweet and tangy strawberry sauce was the perfect pair with the pana cotta. It is surely a wonderful dessert you can make with a very little effort.
Vanilla Panna Cotta
Panna Cotta, also known as Cooked cream, is a wonderful Italian dessert of slightly warmed and flavored cream set into shape using gelatin / agar agar.
- Heavy whipping cream - 1 1/2 Cups
- Milk - 1 Cup
- Agar Agar powder - 1 tsp
- Sugar - 1/4 Cup
- Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
- Fresh strawberries - 1 lb (about 20-30 strawberries)
- Sugar - 1/3 Cup (adjust per taste)
- Water - 2 Tbsp
- First, add the cream, milk and agar agar to a large pan. Whisk until combined and keep aside for 15 mins.
- Now, add the vanilla extract, sugar to the pan and mix well. Turn on the flame to medium. Heat until the sugar and agar dissolves and the mixture is just about to start boiling. Heat for another 3-4 mins in low flame, mixing constantly and turn off the flame. Use a fine mesh and filter the milk cream mixture into a clean bowl.
- You can serve the panna cotta is 2 ways. For the first way, lightly grease a ramekin with a flavorless oil. Pour the pana cotta mixture into the ramekin. For the second way, keep a glass tumbler or cup in a slightly angled or slanting position, as shown in the picture. Pour half the cup with the panna cotta mixture. Refrigerate until the panna cotta is set. I left it overnight in the refrigerator.
- To make the strawberry sauce, chop up the fresh strawberries. Add it to a pan along with the sugar and water and bring it to a boil. Turn off the flame and let it come to room temperature. Use a blender/mixie to blend it into a smooth paste. Filter it using a fine mesh and refrigerate until chill.
- Before serving, place the ramekin in hot water for a few seconds. Run a knife along the edge to loosen the panna cotta from the ramekin and invert the panna cotta from the ramekin onto a plate. Serve along with the strawberry sauce. For the panna cotta made in the glass tumbler / cup, pour the strawberry sauce into the empty space and serve upright. Enjoy chill.
- Do not boil the cream + milk mixture for a long time.
- If you want a less creamier panna cotta, you can use equal portions of cream and milk.
- Agar agar is a vegetarian option available for setting the panna cotta. If not a vegetarian, you can use gelatin as well. Follow the instructions on the package for direction of use and quantity.