June 2, 2011

lemon panna cotta with pistachio biscotti

I met my friend Jing for dinner one night at Limon Patisserie, a popular Peruvian place in the Mission. We ordered the panna cotta for dessert, and it was so delicious I wanted to know how to make it. So the next day in Plated Dessert I decided to go for it, as there was a recipe for it in our textbook:

Plain gelatin powder 0.5 oz (sold in packets at the supermarket)
Water 4 fl oz
Heavy cream 32 fl oz
Sugar 12 oz
Salt 1/2 tsp
Buttermilk 30 fl oz

1) Mix the gelatin powder into the water and let stand (this is called blooming the gelatin).
2) Combine the cream, sugar and salt and stir over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved but before the mixture simmers. Remove from heat.
3) Add gelatin to the cream mixture and blend. Let the mixture cool to 100F and stir in buttermilk.
4) Pour the mixture into the molds of your choice (I used silicone pyramid molds). Cover tightly and refrigerate until set.

For flavoring: I added lemon zest to the mixture, but you can also flavor the panna cotta with cinnamon sticks or vanilla bean or chai tea - just add stuff when the mixture is hot and take it out (if need be) before you stir in the buttermilk and put it in the fridge.

biscotti mise-en-place

Since this was another cream/custard item, I had to come up with a cookie item to accompany it, and I chose to make lemon pistachio biscotti (to keep the lemon theme going).

biscotti batter

The batter is about the same consistency of the honey tuile batter, almost mealy-looking but smooth when smoothed.

baking biscotti

Chef patted the batter down into a wide strip, and this was baked.

baked biscotti

After the outside browned, I took it out of the oven and cut it into slices, which were turned on their sides and baked for a bit longer.

lemon panna cotta display

And then I put together the display, with some strawberries for color. The lemon garnish makes the panna cotta pop and is easy to make too - just slice a lemon paper thin, make one slit from the edge to the center, then turn one edge away and let it sit on the panna cotta.

Panna cotta can be frozen and thawed (in the refrigerator overnight) without losing its texture, so you can make a big batch and have enough to last you awhile. Enjoy!

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