Monday, April 13, 2009

Raw Milk Panna Cotta

Well, I must say I'm really waiting for my spinach to peak out of that cold ground out there. I don't think that it's really going to happen, but when it does, my food inspiration is going to come out with it. I'm being optimistic I know, but one must in these cold April days up here in the frozen Berkshire tundra.
I feel it necessary to confess that I spent a small but substantial chunk of yesterday hiding in my basement eating peanut butter cups while my children whined at me without noticing that I wasn't actually there. "Mo-om, Rosie's breathing on me, and I need spa-ace." "Mo-om, why don't you buy the crackers that I li-ike. I'm so hun-gry." And most often, "Mo-om, my awe-my la do stedahhhhhhhhh......." (yeah I can't understand whiny language either). Anyway, I think a bit of spinach would do us all some good.
But in the mean time, all I want is pudding, and custard, and the occasional peanut butter cup. And David Lebovitz was so kind to remind me how easy Panna Cotta is to make. And Panna Cotta makes me really happy. And it fills up the girls for a few minutes to stop the whining (OK, OK, it's not really that bad- it was just one of those weekends, you know?).
I made his Panna Cotta with creamy raw milk instead of all cream, and then I could eat a lot more of it with out getting a bellyache.

Panna Cotta

Eight servings

Adapted from David Lebovitz, who in turn adapted from Secrets From My Tuscan Kitchen by Judy Witts

1 cup heavy cream
3 cups raw milk (or pasteurized will work too, I'm just plugging for the raw as usual)
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
2 packets powdered gelatin (about 4 1/2 teaspoons)
6 tablespoons cold water

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

2. Lightly oil eight custard cups 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 cups, then chill them until firm, which will take at least two hours but I let them stand at least four hours.

6. Run a sharp knife around the edge of each Panna Cotta and unmold each onto a serving plate, and garnish as desired.

Panna Cotta is quite plain and comforting, and it will take any sauce you like. I like to cook up a few frozen berries, and pour them on top.


  1. Good recipe, just made it with some CSA raw milk, as well as vanilla bean, and it was delicious. Howver, I did notice that there was a layering of the panna cotta, about halfway up there was a distinct difference in composition, perhaps the fat in the whole milk?
    Also, while sublime in taste, two full packets of Knox gelatien proved to be too much. I'll reduce by at least a third next time.
    All in all an awesome dessert!

  2. what's the point of using raw milk if you are heating it in a sauce pan, or worse, microwave?

  3. Because the milk is only heated until the sugar dissolves, it doesn't get hot enough to be pasteurized. Same goes for the microwave if you're not heating for too long. I don't use a microwave myself, but it works well for a quick heat up if that's your preferred method.