Earlier this year I was asked to cater a 40th birthday “dinner party” …for 35 adults. Yep, no barbecues or spit roasts involved. *gulp*
I hate spending someone else’s money so I made cost and ease of serving the main criteria for what I decided to cook. This vanilla panna cotta with a milk crumb and berry coulis is what we served, simply because they can be made the day before. I also felt that if the panna cottas were going to be stubborn on the night, I could serve them in the glass and just top them with the berries and crumb. Luckily, the panna cottas complied, and with a bit of help from a few guests, we had wobbly, creamy puds sitting on plates.
I found some perfect glasses from IKEA at $5 for 6. I use them for everything. We drink out of them, we use them for mousse, jellies and other desserts. We’ve even been known to have dinky little prawn cocktails in them. We don’t mind a bit of dagginess here. 😉
If you don’t want to muck around with a berry coulis, you could macerate some berries. I sprinkle a bit of vanilla flavoured caster sugar over a mix of frozen blueberries and chopped fresh strawberries. You could also leave out the vanilla and stir through finely sliced basil. Trust me, berries and basil are a match made in heaven.
The milk crumb is a nice way to add a bit of crunch to desserts that need a bit of oomph in the texture department. I could eat it by the spoonful. Make a batch and store it in the fridge for something to sprinkle over ice cream or other soft sweets.
Here is the newly converted recipe. It makes 10 servings so it might be a nice idea for a Christmas dessert or a large party. You might even consider having them two nights in a row as they will keep for a couple of days if covered in the refrigerator. 😉 I’m sure you could easily halve the recipe. Just reduce the cooking time by a third. There’s no hard science, you just need the cream to reach simmering point and for the gelatin to dissolve.
Let me know how you get on if you do decide to try them!
Vanilla Panna Cotta with Berry Coulis and Milk Crumbs
Makes 10 x 125ml sized panna cottas.
- 20g powdered gelatin or 8 gold strength gelatin leaves.
- 800g thickened cream
- 300ml milk
- 190g white sugar
- 1 vanilla bean (a dried one is better than a plump one) or 2 teaspoons of vanilla paste.
If you’re using leaf gelatin, soak the gelatin as per the packet’s instructions. If you’re using powdered gelatin, stir it through 300g of milk and set aside.
Place sugar and vanilla bean into the bowl and blitz for 10 seconds on speed 9. If you are using vanilla paste, add later when you add the gelatin.
Add cream and cook for 10 minutes/100c/speed 2. You want the cream to be almost simmering.
Add vanilla bean paste (if using), milk, and gelatin. Mix for 3 minutes/70c/speed 4.
Transfer mixture into a pouring jug and rest for 10 minutes.
Pour into 10 x 125ml dariole moulds or small glasses.
This is best made the day before so the panna cotta can set.
Makes about 2 cups – keep refrigerated and sprinkle over anything soft and sweet!
- 90g butter
- 75g sugar
- 70g plain flour
- 70g milk powder
- 20g cornflour
- ½ – ¾ teaspoon of sea salt
Add butter to bowl and cook 3 minutes/60c/speed 1.
Add remaining ingredients and mix for 10 seconds on speed 4. You may have to push the mix back into the blades. You’re after a crumb texture.
Place crumbs onto a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes at 150c. Stir the mix every 10 minutes so that the crumbs turn a light golden colour. Cool and store in an airtight container in the fridge.
- 1 portion of blueberries (frozen are fine)
- 1 portion of strawberries chopped
- Caster sugar to taste
Sprinkle sugar over berries and let sit in the fridge for a few hours. The sugar releases the berries’ juices. You could also add vanilla or basil to this mix.