Panna Cotta literally means “cooked cream” in Italian. The traditional Italian custard dessert originated from the north of Italy and often credited to the Piemonte region, the birthplace of fine Barolo and Barbaresco wine.
The Italian dessert is always compared and some times confused with the French Crème Brûlée.
Both have rich flavour and silken custardy texture but Panna Cotta is made without eggs – just cream. Beyond cream, all you need to make it is sugar, gelatin and vanilla.
I served this coffee flavoured Panna Cotta with chocolate sauce in small shot glasses for a classy presentation together with warm Chocolate lava cake and vanilla ice cream as part of the dessert trio for the recent private wine dinner.
You can prepare this a couple of days in advance and keep in the refrigerator. It's simple, delicious and very versatile to match and be used in many dessert combination.
Ingredients (Makes 10 shot glasses)
300 ml full fat milk
200 ml double cream
4 tbsp Kahlua coffee liquor
2 tsp coffee essence
150 ml brown sugar
1 tsp natural vanilla extract
3 leaves gelatine
70 g dark couverture chocolate
1 tbsp honey
50 ml double cream
Soak the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water until softened and pliable, about 3-4 minutes.
In a saucepan, bring the cream and milk to a simmer over medium heat. Add the sugar, and stir to dissolve into the simmering liquid, remove from the heat.
Squeeze the extra water from the gelatine, and then add the leaves to the hot cream/milk mixture. Stir until dissolved. Add vanilla extract, Kahlua liquor and coffee essence. Stir well.
Leave mixture to cool for few minutes in a measuring cup or jug. Pour mixture into the shot glasses. When cool, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight before serving.
Bring cream and honey to a slight boil over medium-high heat. Once simmering, remove from heat, and stir in the chocolate until melted and smooth, about 2 minutes.
To serve, spoon chocolate sauce over Panna cotta. Garnished with mint leaves.