About a month ago I bought a box of Knox gelatin envelopes, thinking that one day I might try to make panna cotta. Then I found out that this month's IMBB event involves all things jelled - I took it as a sign that I should actually attempt this and put myself out there in the food blogging public domain. :)
As a starchmouse, I feel incomplete when a dessert doesn't have some sort of floury/cookie/cakey-type component to it. And I didn't want to just serve cookies alongside the panna cotta (I made this for my mother's birthday) but I wanted to make the dessert look "fancy." I toyed with making a three-layer panna cotta, but chilling the individual layers would take so long. Then I thought about putting something solid in between the layers, but it would probably get soggy in the chilling process. Voila! Cookie layers!
I have to warn you - since my mom is on the South Beach diet, I had to make some substitutions. I'm writing down the recipe I *would* have used, but if you would also like to make a sugar-free, low-fat version, just substitute Splenda for the sugar and evaporated skim milk for the cream.
Buttermilk Panna Cotta:
1 cup strawberries
1 cup blackberries
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 packets gelatin (1/2 oz total)
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp orange zest
1. Blend strawberries with 1/2 cup buttermilk. Do the same for the blackberries and set aside for later.
2. Sprinkle both packets of gelatin over the water to soften and set aside while preparing the rest of the ingredients.
3. Heat cream, sugar, and vanilla over medium heat until hot. Take off heat and whisk in gelatin (which at this point, will be a solid gross-looking mass) until dissolved.
4. Over a medium bowl, pour strawberry mixture and 1/2 cup of cream-gelatin mixture into a sieve. Strain, then set aside. Repeat for blackberry mixture. With the remaining 1/2 cup of cream-gelatin mixture, whisk in 1/2 cup buttermilk and orange zest.
5. Pour mixtures into molds - I was able to get 2 heart-shaped 6 oz molds out of each component, for a total of 6.
6. Chill for 8 hours. Resist all temptation to stick it in the freezer to speed up the jelling process - you'll get a watery instead of creamy consistency. Not that I'm speaking from experience. :/
The individual flavors, pre-chilling. Aren't the colors pretty?
The assembly was a little tricky, since the panna cotta did *not* want to come out as a complete heart shape at all. So I had to fiddle a bit and it didn't turn out as pretty as I wanted. :( But it sure was yummy. I used an almond orange lace cookie recipe I found on Epicurious. I fiddled with it to make it South Beach-friendly for my mom, and it kinda turned out to be a disaster. I was a little nervous about the dough because it looked like a greasy, goopy mess. So I added more flour. Whoops. Not the way to go. It didn't spread out to make a nice and thin lacy cookie. But the orange flavor of the cookie went really well with the different panna cotta flavors.
The round-up of all the entries can be found here. So many entries! Next time I'll make sure my entry is aesthetically up to snuff. :)