Monday, June 24, 2013

Bring on the Summer

     I love summer time. BBQ, bonfires and beer. Getting together over good food at the cottage, by the pool or just on a sunny deck is the best way to spend the lazy summer days. Key word Lazy.

     Just because it's easy doesn't mean you have to look like a slacker. This recipe comes together in only 10 minutes, is really forgiving and is at home at your finest soiree or the most casual back yard barbecue. Sounds to good to be true? Read on.

     What I'm talking about is the Italian dessert Panna Cotta, translation "cooked cream". Five ingredients, 10 minutes and you look like a star. Bonus, you get to throw around fancy Italian dessert names.

     I like mine potted (still in a container) and just set. A spoonful is like silk across the tongue. I've tried a few different recipes but this is the one I like the best, a very slightly modified version of Judy Witts recipe from Secrets of My Tuscan Kitchen. My version isn't solid enough to unmold.

Click on the picture to enlarge
I'm trying something new with the format
Not sure it's a keeper

     This recipe makes a lot, bonus, is easy, huge bonus, can be served plain, can be endlessly modified, is gluten free, can be dairy free or vegan and is quite forgiving.

     Here are my prep notes. 

Prepare 5 -8 custard cups - Take them out of the cupboard. I don't plate mine so no need to oil the cups.

By the time the cream is heated the gelatin has usually plumped up. If not don't worry. You've got a good window of time to work. Because you aren't setting the cream with eggs like a custard, precise timing isn't a concern. As long as the cream is hot enough to dissolve the gelatin you're good.

 I plump up the gelatin in a large Pyrex 8 cup measuring cup. It's easy to pour into the ramekins after you add the heated cream mixture and I'm all about easy.

The 35% cream is rich. Because you are setting with gelatin you can use just about any liquid, table cream-18%, half and half - 10%, soy milk, almond milk. You may need to tweek the exact amount of gelatin to set it the way you like. I would go with more to start, then reduce it a 1/4 teaspoon at a time. My four teaspoons to four cups of liquid is a really soft set. The original recipe calls for 4 1/2 teaspoons.

Because you aren't baking, the sugar is only a flavour. You can substitute, increase, decrease, omit. What ever tickles your taste buds.

For the vegetarians swap agar ( agar-agar) for the gelatin.

The one above is topped with Strawberry Rhubarb Compote. Another easy recipe.
1 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb
1 1/2 cups chopped strawberries
1/4 cup of sugar- adjust to taste
1 tablespoon of lemon juice

Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to prevent scorching.
Reduce heat and simmer until you reach your desired thickness

Top yours with whatever you like or just enjoy it plain. 

Here is a link to a great site for more information on variations and another recipe.

     An easy dessert so you can get out and enjoy the summer sun. Any other quick and easy favourites? Feel free to share.



  1. Oh, that looks sinful. And it probably wouldn't last long in my household. Definitely on my "to-try" list.

  2. Oh wow! The perfect summer dessert. Cool, refreshing, sweet, Yum! this is def on my list of to do's. . . . .today:)


Thanks for your comment, I hope you enjoyed your time in the "Kitchen".