My Own Little Land of Milk and Honey
This one makes me very happy.
Have you ever known someone who is a panna cotta fanatic? Having a slight aversion to gelatin-based things, I’ve never really understood it. But people who love panna cotta, they REALLY love panna cotta. John is one of those people. So it seems like I would make it all the time. It’s super easy, just a little advance planning needed for it to set up in the fridge. But how many times have I made it? Once. Last summer. I tend towards puddings and mousses, but I’m not really sure why. After this panna cotta, I think that is going to change. It’s winter here in Seattle, so I’m exploring the flavors available. As much as I loved my little pop tarts and poached apples, I’m feeling the need to branch out from the abundance of apples here. And what’s a beautiful flavor available all year round? Honey. Sticky sweet honey. And thus, I wanted a milk and honey dessert. A panna cotta dessert. I actually did 2 batches, one with milk and another with buttermilk. As much as a liked the tang of the buttermilk, I was really feeling the contrast between the pure vanilla milk flavor and the acidic honey.
I wanted textures in this dish, so I poured some honey into the bottom of my dishes, so that when I dug my spoon in later, I would get a nice bit of liquid with the panna cotta.
I started making the panna cotta by steeping my cream with a vanilla bean and some sugar.
Then I softened the gelatin and mixed that in with the steeped cream mixture. I strained that into some milk and placed the container in the fridge to chill. I did this so that I could stir the vanilla seeds around as it started to thicken, to keep them from falling to the bottom before the panna cotta set. Once it was chilled and starting to thicken, I poured it onto the honey.
I let the panna cotta finish setting up in the fridge, maybe 4 hours or so, before making a honey gelée. I poured that on top of the panna cottas and let them chill for a couple more hours.
Once the gelée was set, I sprinkled on some chunky sea salt. And then me and John went to town on these guys. And they were delicious. The salt cut through the sweetness, and the different layers and textures made me very happy indeed. And needless to say, John was pretty pleased as well.
Honey Panna Cotta Recipe:
3/4 cup honey
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp gelatin
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 tsp powdered gelatin
1/4 tsp salt
- Put 2 TBSP of honey in bottom of 6 dishes and put in fridge.
- For the Panna Cotta, combine sugar, vanilla, and heavy cream in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and let steep for 20 minutes.
- Pour 1/4 cup water in a small bowl. Sprinkle on powdered gelatin and let sit for a few minutes to soften. Add this to the heavy cream mixture and stir well to dissolve.
- Add the milk and stir well. Strain mixture into a container with a spout.
- Put container in fridge until cool, stirring every 10 minutes or so so redistribute the vanilla seeds.
- Pour mixture over honeyed containers and cool in the fridge until set.
- For the gelée, pour 1/2 cup of water in a small bowl. Sprinkle on powdered gelatin and let sit for a few minutes to soften.
- Pour honey in saucepan over medium heat. Add gelatin mixture and stir to dissolve. Add salt. Place in fridge to cool, stirring to make sure it doesn’t set.
- When cool, pour over panna cotta. Place in fridge and let chill until set.
- Before serving sprinkle with chunky sea salt.