Panna cotta is one of those desserts that’s not only quick and easy to prepare but also – and most importantly – always extremely satisfying. It’s ideal for serving after any meal, especially lunches and dinners with friends and family on big occasions.
And this version is extra special!
Complemented by the addition of exquisite espresso, it looks absolutely amazing. When it’s plated up with chocolate ganache and an uncooked coffee biscuit base, it’s bound to take your guests’ breath away.
The basic version of the dessert is always a simple, delicate delight. You only need a few ingredients but they must all be fresh and of the highest quality. Cream, milk and sugar are heated together and then a few gelatine leaves are added and allowed to set so that the mixture thickens but still has a soft texture.
Panna cotta tends to be served in glass bowls, but an interesting alternative is to make single portions in moulds with a range of shapes, turn them out onto plates and then decorate them however you like before serving them.
I decided to make ring donut-shaped panna cotta. Silicone moulds are always easy to turn out. The other option is to use tins and dip them in hot water for a few seconds so that the solidified panna cotta pops out smoothly.
As I mentioned, this version is enhanced by the distinctive, unmistakable aroma of coffee. I used the Nobile blend, which is ideal for sophisticated palates. It has a rounded flavour and a rich cocoa aroma that I wanted to bring to the fore even more.
The crunchy base for the panna cotta is quick and easy to prepare. You just mix superior butter with Manuel Caffettuosi coffee biscuits, which fill it with their fabulous fragrance.
There’s also a spicy little secret that helps to make the dessert a real treat for the taste buds.
Mix a few cardamom pods into the cream, or use a few ground seeds for flavour that packs even more of a punch. Coffee and cardamom is a well-established pairing that people have been enjoying for countless years and it’s extremely popular in North Africa. You won’t be able to get enough of it.
This recipe could be a great option when you’re thinking about what to serve your guests for dessert at Easter. Don’t forget about it after that though, because its fresh, forthright flavour means it’s an ideal solution all summer long.
Serve it dusted with unsweetened cocoa or take an even more mouth-watering approach and plate it up alongside melted chocolate or dark chocolate and cream ganache like I did: chocolate and coffee work wonderfully well together and bring out the best of each other.
Depending on the time of year, garnish it with coffee beans, candied orange pieces or fresh, seasonal fruit such as redcurrants, cherries, strawberries or figs.
For 10 portions with a diameter of 7 cm
For the base
200 g of Caffettuosi coffee biscuits
85 g of butter
For the chocolate ganache
150 g of dark chocolate
150 g of fresh cream
Making the base
Crumble the biscuits and put a small amount at a time into a food mixer to make them into powder.
Melt the butter, pour it onto the biscuit powder and mix the two together thoroughly.
Pour the mixture onto a work surface covered with baking paper, spread it out well until it is 2 to 3 mm thick, then use a rolling pin or meat tenderizer to level it out and ensure it’s nice and compact.
Chill it in the fridge for approximately 30 minutes, then use a pastry cutter that’s the same size as your single-portion mould (or slightly bigger) to cut out the bases and put them in the fridge.
Making the panna cotta
Soak the gelatine in cold water for around 5 minutes and prepare a two-cup moka pot of coffee.
Take a small saucepan and heat the cream with the sugar and cardamom (leave the pods whole and take them out later for a softer aroma or break them up to make it more powerful) until it boils.
Squeeze out the excess water from the gelatine, then put it in the boiling cream. Add the hot coffee.
Pour the mixture into the moulds. Leave it to cool, put it in the refrigerator to set and then cover it with cling film and put it in the freezer so that it can be turned out more easily.
Making the chocolate ganache
Break the chocolate into pieces, bring the cream to the boil and pour it onto the chocolate. Stir quickly until all of the ingredients are mixed together thoroughly.
Put the round base in the middle of the plate, with a drop of ganache underneath it to hold it still.
Now remove the panna cotta from the mould and put it on top of the base. Let it get a little softer, then garnish it with the chocolate ganache and serve.
(By Elisa Di Rienzo | ilfiordicappero.com) – 30/03/22