Panna Cotta Skulls Recipe

You can create fun desserts using our sugar skull molds and an easy

to follow Panna Cotta Recipe. 

 

pannacotta surrounded with figs, raspberries and pomegranate seeds with a mint sugar sauce

Panna cotta is an Italian dessert made by simmering together cream, milk and sugar, mixing this with gelatin, and letting it cool until set. An Italian expression which literally means "cooked cream", it generally refers to a creamy, set dessert from the Northern Italian region of Piemonte. It is eaten all over Italy where it is served with wild berries, caramel, chocolate sauce or fruit coulis.

Panna cotta (from Italian cooked cream) is an Italian dessert made by simmering together cream, milk and sugar, mixing this with gelatin, and letting it cool until set. It is generally from the Northern Italian region of Piemonte, although it is eaten all over Italy, where it is served with wild berries, caramel, chocolate sauce or fruit coulis. It is not known exactly how or when this dessert came to be, but some theories suggest that cream, for which mountainous Northern Italy is famous, was historically eaten plain or sweetened with fruit or hazelnuts. Earlier recipes for the dish used boiled fish bones in place of gelatin; sugar, later a main ingredient, would not have been widely available as it was an expensive imported commodity. After years this treat evolved into what is now a gelatin dessert, flavored with vanilla and topped with fruit or spices, and served chilled.

Similar versions of this dish are also found in Greece, France and Finland.

Panna Cotta Recipe

Adapted from Secrets From My Tuscan Kitchen by Judy Witts

I love this dessert and the great thing about Panna Cotta is that it demands to be made in advance. You can make them up to two days ahead and keep them well-covered and chilled.

For gelatin-related questions, read my Tips for Using Gelatin. You can find instructions for using sheet gelatin at the end of the recipe.

4 cups (1l) heavy cream (or half-and-half)
1/2 cup (100g) sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, or 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2 packets powdered gelatin (about 4 1/2 teaspoons)
6 tablespoons (90ml) cold water

1. Heat the heavy cream and sugar in a saucepan or microwave. Once the sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

(If using a vanilla bean, scrape the seeds from the bean into the cream and add the bean pod. Cover, and let infuse for 30 minutes. Remove the bean then rewarm the mixture before continuing.)

2. Lightly oil our large sugar skull molds with a neutral-tasting oil.

3. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water in a medium-sized bowl and let stand 5 to 10 minutes.

4. Pour the very warm Panna Cotta mixture over the gelatin and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved.

5. Divide the Panna Cotta mixture into the prepared sugar skull molds, then chill them until firm, which will take at least two hours but I let them stand at least four hours. (Judy told me American refrigerators are colder than European ones. )

6. Run a sharp knife around the edge of each Panna Cotta and unmold each onto a serving plate, and garnish as desired.  We like to use fresh berries, but chocolate sauce is great, too!

To make Panna Cotta with sheet gelatin: Soften 25g (approximately six sheets) in a liter of cold water for 5 to 10 minutes. Wring the sheets out and stir them into the warm Panna Cotta mixture in step # 4, until dissolved.

You can visit Judy at her website, Divina Cucina to learn more about her market tours and classes, and her blog, Over a Tuscan Stove.