Well, this is just fantastic. Like a mousse, but firmer. Like a pudding, but richer. Like a custard, but loaded with chocolate. Like an underbaked brownie, but without flour. ??? Panna cotta is hard to describe, but you should definitely eat some.
This is from Giada's Kitchen, the one where she's on the cover zesting a lemon and looking at the camera with just a whisper of a Bruce Springsteen-like underbite. The panna cotta is not hard to make, although you'll want to read the recipe carefully a couple of times before you start it, as there are lots of steps and bowls involved. You'll be heating up one thing, melting another, waiting for stuff to dissolve, putting things in water baths, and so on.
It's all worth it, trust me. You won't be able to stop thinking about this panna cotta once you've had some, and it's even better the next day. I didn't bother to add the almonds, and my whipped cream appears to be nozzle-formed, doesn't it? Sorry; it's been a madcap week. If you feel like taking your panna cotta over the top, I've included Giada's amaretto whipped cream instructions, and you can do with them what you will.
Giada says you can eat this 30 minutes after it comes out of the oven, but I think it's so much better after it has chilled for a few hours.
I appreciate your comments about Bun! She is bouncing back and enjoying her new food. I'm so relieved to see her returning to normal. Actually, she's a little better than normal. Thanks to her new meds administered by Our Hero Jeff...
...things are moving through her system with ease, and she appears to be a lot more comfortable. Here she is surrounded by art supplies on my painting table; you can really get a sense of how tiny she is!
- 2 cups cold whole milk
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 packet unflavored gelatin
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 (12-ounce) bag bittersweet chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
- 1 tablespoon almond liqueur such as Amaretto
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Butter a 2-quart casserole dish.
In a small saucepan, combine 1½ cups of the milk, the granulated sugar, and the vanilla. Bring to a simmer and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat.
In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the remaining ½ cup of cold milk and let it dissolve for 2 minutes (I let mine dissolve for a lot longer, like maybe 10 minutes). Combine the cold milk and gelatin with the hot milk and sugar. Stir to dissolve the gelatin, about 5 minutes. (Heat the milk gently if the gelatin is not dissolving easily.) When the gelatin is dissolved, combine the eggs with the warm milk mixture, whisking constantly to avoid scrambling the eggs. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a large measuring cup or small pitcher.
Meanwhile, melt the chocolate over simmering water in a double boiler. When the chocolate is melted, gradually combine the milk and egg mixture with the melted chocolate, stirring between each addition to create a smooth chocolate mixture.
Pour the mixture into the prepared dish. Sprinkle the top with the almonds. Place the casserole dish in a larger baking pan or roasting pan and add hot water to the larger pan until the water comes halfway up the sides of the casserole dish. Place both pans in the oven and bake the panna cotta until the sides are firm and the center just jiggles slightly, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 30 minutes.
Just before serving, whip the cream to soft peaks in a medium bowl using a whisk or electric hand mixer. Add the confectioners’ sugar and almond liqueur and whip to combine. Spoon the panna cotta into individual serving bowls and dollop the top with the almond whipped cream.