Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Rhubarb & Rose Panna Cotta

Panna cotta is one of those desserts that sounds fancy and unachievable but when you actually examine the ingredients, you realize that it's one of the easiest desserts to prepare (you don't even have to turn on your oven)! 

Panna cotta literally means 'cooked cream' in Italian so that's essentially what you'll be doing on the stovetop. I really love to use a vanilla bean for that natural flavor (and because I love those lil specks in my custard) but you can use pure vanilla extract as well! 

As far as how to present this and topping options, you'll find some cooking notes under the recipe! Since rhubarb season is in full swing here in Oregon, I decided to make a compote with the addition of rose petals from my garden but you could always follow the same cooking process with your favorite summer fruit.

For the panna cotta...

⅓ cup plain greek yogurt
1 (.25 ounce) envelope unflavored gelatin
2 cups heavy cream
½ cup whole milk
½ cup white sugar  
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped (you can sub 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract)

1. Pour whole milk in a small bowl and stir in the gelatin powder - set aside

2. Stir together the heavy cream, vanilla bean, and sugar, in a saucepan and set over medium heat. Bring to a full boil, watching carefully, as the cream will quickly rise to the top of the pan. Pour the gelatin and milk into the cream, stirring until completely dissolved. Cook for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, stir in the yogurt, and pour into six individual ramekin dishes. Chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours before serving with compote.

For the rhubarb and rose compote...

2 cups rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 3-4cm pieces
1/2 cup caster sugar
rose water (you could use 5-8 fresh rose petals instead for a less intense rose flavor)
a squeeze of lemon juice
unsprayed rose petals, to serve
(I also garnished mine with pistachios) 

1. To make the compote, put the sugar in a medium saucepan with 150ml water and dissolve over low heat. Add the rhubarb and allow to poach gently until tender. 
2. Stir in the rose water (or rose petals) and lemon and let cool slightly before blending with an immersion blender. The compote may be made up to 3 days in advance and kept chilled until needed.

To turn the panna cotta out, dip the mould into hot water for 2 seconds then invert onto a serving plate. Hold the mould and plate together tightly as you give it a tap and a shake; the custard should wobble out. Serve each pannacotta with a spoonful of compote and a scattering of rose petals.

Cooking Notes: You can prepare this a couple of different ways. You can keep the panna cotta in the glass and pour the blended compote on top OR you could brave flipping the mold over, leaving the formed panna cotta (if you do this I recommend using a silicone mold)

For the compote, you can blend and then strain the mixture (as served above) or you can choose to lessen the cooking time on the rhubarb and leave it in bite-sized pieces to serve on the side. If you want to keep the pieces of rhubarb more intact, lessen the cooking time on the stove  -- I would check the tenderness of the rhubarb with a fork after building for 5 minutes and go from there. 

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