Panna cotta is probably the most recognizable Tuscan Dessert in the world.
Aside of my great and hilarious ex Pizza Chef Michele, which in a very convoluted way tried to convince me that Panna Cotta should really be called WOBBLY PANNA... (whatever), very few people dislike it.
Luca, My brother that proclame an intestinal side effect to panna cotta that we won't mention here, doesn't really count.
I have made an essential change to the traditional Panna Cotta. I have inverted the proportions between cream and milk. Where the original recipe calls for more or less a double quantity of cream versus milk, I did the opposite, double milk half cream.
This makes a lighter dessert that can be great also in full summer, maybe with a different gelee on top.
Ingredients for the Panna Cotta (MY basic panna cotta):
1 liter milk (either 2% or whole) up to you
1/2 liter whipping cream un sugared
20gr/0.7oz gelatin in sheets
1 rum shot
In a pan, pour milk, cream, vanilla, and sugar, put it on the flame to boil, mix well to dissolve all the sugar.
Put the gelatine sheets in a bowl with cold water, let it soak until soft then squeeze out the excess water and put it in a small pan with the rum. Put it on the flame, stirring costantly, until it is all melted and no more, it will take really few moments.
As soon as the milk boils, pour in the gelatine/rum mix, stir well and put in the final containers in which you will serve it. Leave in the fridge to rest for a few hours (at least 3). Put it in the freezer for 20 min, before pouring the gelee over it.
Pomegranate gelee ingredients:
750ml pomegranate juice (juice from REAL pomegranate, not commercial juice)
400gr/14 oz sugar
40 gr pectin in powder
Get 4 or 5 ripe pomegranates. Warning, getting all the juice without a juicer is the real hassle.
I don't have a juicer.
The easiest way to do it for me is to get all the pomegranate seeds in a bowl and use briefly an immersion blender, then pass them through a sieve to eliminate the seeds and the pulp, that we do not want.
I need to buy a juicer.
Mix the sugar with the pectine, mix it with the pomegranate juice and put it to boil. Let it simmer for 3/4 minute, turn off the flame and keep stirring untill all eventual foam has dissolved. Let sit off the flame for half an hour, so it is still liquid but not huber hot when you pour it on the panna cotta you left in the freezer (FOR 20 MIN ONLY). Before pouring half an inch of gelee on the panna cotta, put in it a small handful of pomegranate seeds. It will give a nice crunch when you eat the final result.
Put it back in the freezer for about 10 min, then back in the fridge until it is ready to serve.
100gr/3.5oz egg's white, about 3 eggs
200gr/7oz sugar - essentially double the egg's white wait in sugar, half normal sugar half icing sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
this is extremely easy to do, if you follow the steps carefully. You'll need a kitchen aid sort of machinery,, or hand held electric whisks, because there is A LOT of beating to do. And this is what is essential.
start to beat up the whites, just them alone, at max speed for about 5 min, then start to add the sugar, one tbsp at a time, until you obtain a consistent, shiny solid mix. Add the lemon juice, all in all all should last good 10/12 min.
Put all in a piping bag with metal starred beak.
Pump out the foam in the shape you want on a parchment paper lined oven tray.
Heat the oven at 100°C/212°Fh. Ventilated is better, if not available, put the handle of a wooden spoon so not to let the door close. Cook for 13min. then leave the meringues in the oven, turned off and the door open for a while, I usually do a couple of hours.
Once the meringues are out of the oven, keep them in a sealed container, they will last for a couple of weeks at least, unless you are like me you'll whip up some unsugared cream, and attach them two by two. So they don't last last 3 days.
Add the meringues over the panna cotta if you have any left and eat the rest.