EK says I am addicted to cooking and baking. Maybe that is true. Since I tried the Panna Cotta recipe the last time, I have wanted to make sure the girls get to try it when they are home for the holidays. So the Panna Cotta made it to our Christmas Eve dinner menu. But instead of using gelatin, I decided to try agar agar powder to set the dessert. It did not turn out well, and I did not go to bed happy on Christmas Eve. On Christmas morning, I woke up and tried again. This time I did two batches, one with gelatin and the other with egg white. Bingo! Egg white is the way to go! This recipe is a lot lighter, more delicate, and simply delicious. It will be on our next Christmas dinner menu again. Now I am happy. The girls had triple doses of Panna Cotta since last night; not sure if they are very happy? 🙂
- Prep Time: 30 mins
- Cook Time: 90 mins
- Serves: 5
(A) Pine Nut Brittle
- 50g granulated sugar
- 1 Tbsp water
- 1 Tbsp pine nuts
- Pinch of sea salt
(B) Fresh Strawberry Sauce
- 1 pint fresh strawberries, reserve a few to garnish the Panna Cotta
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- Juice of half a lime
(C) Panna Cotta
- 200 ml heavy cream
- 300 ml half and half
- 150 g egg whites (I use store bought liquid egg white in a container)
- 80 g granulated sugar
- ½ vanilla bean
To make Pine Nut Brittle
- Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
- Melt sugar with 1 Tbsp of water in a small sauce pan over medium heat until the syrup turns golden brown.
- Stir in the pine nuts.
- Pour onto the parchment paper.
- Tilt the pan to spread the syrup to a thin layer and sprinkle a pinch of sea salt over it.
- Let the syrup set on the pan. It will harden as it cools.
- Break the brittle into shards.
To make Fresh Strawberry Sauce
- Wash and rinse strawberries, remove the stems using a paring knife.
- Puree the strawberries in a blender with the powdered sugar and lime juice until it turns into strawberry sauce.
- Chill in the refrigerator until ready to use.
To make Panna Cotta
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
- Place the cream, half and half, and sugar in a heavy sauce pan.
- Split the vanilla bean length wise and scrape the seeds into the pan.
- Toss the empty vanilla pods into the pan and bring the content to a simmer over medium heat.
- Remove from heat, remove the vanilla pods. Set aside to cool.
- In a bowl, beat the egg whites with a fork. Pour the egg white through a sieve into the cream mixture.
- Mix well with a whisk and divide the mixture into 5 lightly buttered ramekins.
- Place the ramekins in a baking pan and pour boiling water into the pan until the water level reaches ¾ of the molds.
- Bake in 300 degree F oven for about 90 minutes until the surface is golden brown.
- Turn off the oven and let the Panna Cotta cool completely inside the oven.
- When cooled, chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- To serve, loosen the Panna Cotta by running a very thin knife heated in boiling water along the side of the ramekins.
- Unmold onto serving plate.
- Spread a layer of strawberry sauce on top of the Panna Cotta.
- Garnish with strawberries, raspberries, blue berries, dust of chocolate shavings, and pine nut brittle.