Can I tell you a story about Panna Cotta? Once upon a time, Aaron and I were visiting New York – or I should say eating our way through New York. One night we ended up at Mario Batali’s Babbo near Washington Square. Aaron still swears that we saw him hanging out in the alleyway next to the restaurant but I’m not convinced – that’s not the point of the story! Everything that night was delicious, from Squid Ink Pasta to Lamb Brain Ravioli but the one thing that blew our minds was the Saffron Panna Cotta. It was the most heavenly Panna Cotta I’ve ever had. Not too creamy, not too sweet and just the right amount of lightness. Ever since then we’ve been trying to replicated to no success. Sometimes it wouldn’t set right, sometimes it’s too creamy, the whole thing just seemed impossible. A couple of months ago, I was making my way through one of Ina Garten’s cookbooks and I came across her Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries. There was a little blurb in the cookbook about how she loved the Panna Cotta at Babbo and this recipe was inspired by it. I loved the recipe because it felt almost fool proof. I’ve done this a few times now and each time it has set beautifully. Now there is a whole other story about passion fruits but I’ll spare you. Long story short, we got ourselves some fresh passion fruits and decided to make Passion Fruit Panna Cotta. The recipe is as follows and is adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe. If you decide to give this a try, let me know how it goes!
3/4 packet (1.5 teaspoon) unflavored gelatin powder
1 1/2 tablespoon cold water
1 1/2 heavy cream
1 cup plain whole milk yogurt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup fresh passion fruit juice
Cut each fruit in half and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Then push it through it through a fine sieve. We found that each passion fruit gave varying amount of juice. We used about 10 total.
In a bowl, combine the cold water and gelatin. Let it set for 10 min, it should result in a gummy texture.
In another bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup of the cream, all of the yogurt and vanilla extract. Heat the remaining 3/4 cup of cream and all the sugar in a saucepan. Bring it to a simmer and remove from heat. Then add the gelatin to the hot cream and stir. Pour the hot cream gelatin mixture into the cold cream yogurt mixture. Once everything is combine, stir in passion fruit juice. Pour into 4 (6-8oz) ramekins and refrigerate until cold. Then wrap with plastic and refrigerate overnight.
This final picture was actually taken just 5 hours after we put it in the refrigerator because we were impatient, that’s why it looks a little runny. We had the rest the following night and it was set beautifully. The trick to getting it out of the ramekins is to dip the bottom of the ramekin into a bowl of hot water. Then flip it over on a plate and it should slip out.
We also made a simple syrup with the left over passion fruit juice. Cut up some fruit and bon appetit!