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the perfect panna cotta

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I've been researching online one different panna cotta recipes over the past year and have tried different variations of existing recipes by modifying the amounts of buttermilk vs. heavy cream. the thing is, i'm trying to include the buttermilk taste without overpowering the panna cotta's taste. i've heard sour cream can provide a creamier texture in comparison to using heavy cream, but i'm not sure how true this is because i haven't tried it myself. i was wondering if you guys had any panna cotta recipes to offer that you've tried and had great results with. i was looking for "dave martin's panna cotta recipe" from the last episode of top chef season 1 but had not luck in finding it. any thoughts?

(oh and by the way, i've tried using martha stewarts take on buttermilk panna cotta and had pretty good results but the butermilk flavor is overpowering and the texture is far from being creamy at all. maybe i should use vanilla extract?)
post #2 of 5
Although I've not used sour cream to make panna cotta I've found that in the buttermilk version the key to a silky and rich texture is to be very careful in the amount of gelatin you use. Too little and your panna cotta won't have enough structure and collapse into a wet mess, too much and you'll end up with milky jello (which will perfectly edible is not what you're going for). Actually, I would say that this panna cotta recipe is lighter than most of the other ones around... it has quite a bit less milk fat than most.

15 g unflavoured powdered gelatin (you can use sheet gelatin too but you'll need to do the conversions)
120 mL water
500 mL 35% cream
235 g sugar
1/2 tsp salt
450 mL buttermilk
500 mL 3.25% whole milk

Bloom your gelatin in the water and then melt it. Bring your cream to scalding temperature and add your bloomed gelatin mixture, sugar, salt. Stir and leave it to cool (in open air or in an ice bath while stirring) until almost room temperature. Add the milk and buttermilk and stir again until everything's combined. Pour into greased ramekins and allow to chill in the fridge for 24 hours, covered. Serve by running the edges with a knife and warming the bottom of the ramekin and turn upside down on a plate.

One of my favourite panna cotta variations is to add the bright pungent flavour of basil. If you want to make a basil panna cotta then blanch 12 large basil leaves in hot water for 10 seconds, puree with the buttermilk and strain. Use this as your base buttermilk mixture. I also find fresh summer peaches are a great accompaniment.

You can always use vanilla in panna cotta, but sometimes I think it's a distraction.

If you want to make this richer replace the buttermilk with an equivalent amount (in weight) of sour cream or a 1/2 greek-style yogurt to 1/2 heavy cream mixture, or replace the whole milk with whipping cream.
"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
I was also thinking of adding cream of tartar as it is good in cupcakes, gelatins, and other desserts. what do you think?
post #4 of 5
In her definative exploration, aptly titled Panna Cotta, Camila Saulsbury has this to say:

"Dairy products are the stars in panna cotta; hence the better they are, the better the panna cotta. If possible, opt for cream, sour cream, yogurt, and buttermilk with no or few additives for the best flavor and consistency.

".....many of the recipes throughout this collection contain sour cream or yogurt in addition to cream. The reason for this is to replicate the consistency of the super-thick cream of the Piedmon region's dairy country."

I think we have to keep that in mind. Buttermilk brings a special flavor to things. But we have to be careful of not destroying the basic essence of what panna cotta is all about. I suspect that's why, in a book containing 100 panna cotta versions, there's only one for buttermilk.

I haven't made it. But, fwiw, here is her recipe for

Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Apple Gelee

2 3/4 tsp unflavored gelatin, divided
2/3 cup whipping cream
3/4 cup sugar, divided
2 cups buttermilk
3 tbls fresh lemon juice, divided
1 1/3 cups filtered, unsweetened apple juice
2 medium Fuji apples, unpeeled, cut into 1/4 inch dice

In a medium saucepan sprinklw 1 1/2 teaspoons gelatin over the hevy cream in medium saucepan (do not stir). Let stand 5 minutes to soften gelatin. Addd 1/2 cup of the sugar. Cook and stir over low heat until both the elatin and sugar are completely dissolved (do not let mixture come to a boil). Whisk in the buttermilk until well blended and smooth.

Ladle or pour mixture into 6 martini glasses or toher decorative glasses. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and chill 3 hours or up to overnight.

After the panna cotta has set for at least 2 hours make the gelee. Place 3 tablespoons lemon juice in a small bowl. Sprinkle the remaining 1 1/4 teaspoons gelatin over the juice and let stand to soften, about 5 minutes. Bring the apple juice and 3 tablespoons of the remaining sugar to a boil in a small pan over high hieat. Pour hot apple mixture over the gelatin mixture; whisk to dissolve. Let cool to room temperature.

Once the buttermilk panna cotta has set, pour a 1/4 inch thick layer of apple gelee on top of each dessert. Refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.

In a small wold toss the diced apples with the remaining tablespoon sugar and remaining tablespoon lemon juice. Loosely cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serve chilled, topped with the diced apples in each glass. Makes 6 servings.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
post #5 of 5
Cream of tartar is basically the salt form of tartaric acid. Are you trying to add a certain tang to the panna cotta (in which case I most certainly wouldn't add cream of tartar)?
"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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