vanilla chia pannacotta
EVENT: FOODIES_ REDOING OLD POSTS #15
Recently held birthday party with friends gave me the opportunity to make this silky, smooth and creamy Vanilla Chia Panna Cotta. As a result, got the opportunity to take better photos which so badly needed to be updated. The Group Foodies_Redoing Old Posts allows me to focus on my old posts to add better photos, write a better post and importantly gives me the chance to make sure the recipe works to the hilt. I’m so grateful to Renu for giving us this opportunity.
Vanilla Chia Panna Cotta
Making panna cotta one of the most easiest desserts. I love the creamy texture. I remember the first time I ever ordered panna cotta off the menu at an Italian Restaurant in Bangalore, not knowing what to expect. First spoonful of the creamy dessert in my mouth and I immediately fell in love with it. Since then have made the luscious creamy dessert so many times at home. Making a Vanilla Panna Cotta is my favorite as it can be served with fresh fruit, fruit sauces or coulis, pureed fruit, chocolate sauce etc. The options are endless. Adding chia seeds to this it was just to add a bit of texture.
What is a Panna Cotta?
Panna Cotta is actually an Italian dessert, generally made from cream and a bit of milk and gelatin. It is unmolded and served with a sauce. The creamy mixture can be infused with spices and flavors. Panna Cotta means cooked cream. It is believed to a dessert from the Piedmont region of Italy. The panna cotta was usually flavored with rum or marsala. How creamy the pain cotta turns out depends on the quality of cream used and the proportion of cream and milk used.
Gelatin or Agar Agar
Panna cotta can be made using gelatin or agar agar. I’ve made it using both depending on the availability of gelatin or agar agar. Must admit, I prefer the gelatin version but to make it vegan or vegetarian friendly I omit it.
To Unmold or not
I’ve made panna cotta for Diwali, Pre Wedding Celebrations and also for Birthday parties. Its a dessert that most people enjoy. When I’m entertaining a large crowd then unfolding desserts is time consuming. Therefore, I prefer using cute little bowls, ramekins or small cups or glasses. Mango Fool, Milk Pudding with Jelly, Pomegranate and Vanilla Panna Cotta, Thandai Mousse are a few examples of desserts I have prepared for parties.
If you want to unmold it that make sure you grease the molds with flavorless oil. Run a sharp knife around the edges and the vanilla panna cotta will slip off. Top it with sauce, or chopped fruits and nuts. You can set the panna cotta in one big bowl, unmold it and cut it serve.
What toppings have I tried Vanilla Panna Cotta with?
I’ve used simple passion fruit sauce, also strawberry sauce. I’ve also served it with chopped strawberries, mangoes and nuts. With Vanilla flavored panna cotta, you have so many options.
- Its gluten free
- For a Vegan friendly version replace the cream with coconut cream. Don’t use gelatin. Use a vegan friendly agar agar or carrageenan or a vegan jel.
- Gelatin is usually made from animal skin and bones so its not vegetarian or vegan friendly. Replace the gelatin with agar agar, carrageenan or vegan jel.
VANILLA CHIA PANNA COTTA
Ingredients for the Vanilla Layer:
2 cups double/whipping cream
⅓ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup thick coconut milk
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 packet (7g / ¼oz) or 2½ tsp gelatin or 4 tbsp agar flakes or 4 tsp agar agar powder
Topping: HOME MADE CHOCOLATE SAUCE
Makes about ¾ cup
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ – 1 cup sugar
1 tbsp butter
a pinch of salt
1 cup milk
½ tbsp plain flour
1 tsp vanilla extract or ½ tsp cinnamon powder
Preparation of the Vanilla Panna Cotta:
- Soak the chia seeds in warm water for 15-20 minutes.
- Add milk into a saucepan. Sprinkle the gelatin or agar agar and mix gently.
- Let the gelatin /agar agar bloom for 10-15 minutes.
- in the meantime get your bowls or glasses ready.
- Add sugar to the milk.
- Heat the milk mixture over low heat stirring all the time till the gelatin or agar agar melts.
- Let the mixture become hot but not boiling.
- Take the pan off the heat.
- Add the cream and vanilla extract and mix well.
- Drain out any access water from the chia seeds. Add the seeds to the vanilla mixture. Mix well.
- Pour the vanilla mixture equally into 8 containers.
- Put the containers with the panna cotta in the fridge to set. Let it set overnight or for 3-4 hours.
Preparation of the Home Made Chocolate Sauce:
- Mix cocoa, sugar and flour well till there are no lumps left.
- Put milk and butter in a pan.
- Heat it over medium heat till it becomes hot.
- Whisking the milk, add the cocoa mixture in batches.
- Lower the heat and let the sauce cook till it becomes thick. This will take about 3-5 minutes. Remember to stir or whisk often so that it doesn’t get burnt at the bottom.
- Add flavoring of your choice, mix well and let it cool.
- Store in an airtight jar in the fridge till required.
- Take the set panna cotta out of the fridge.
- Pour the cool chocolate sauce over it, about 1-2 tbsp.
- Put the panna cotta back in the fridge.
- Let it chill for 1-2 hours.
- Serve chilled.
- You can use ready made chocolate sauce.
- You can replace the coconut milk with a milk of your choice.
- Instead of chocolate sauce top it with your favorite fresh fruit coulis or sauce e.g. strawberry, blackberry, mango, raspberry, passion fruitetc.
- For a vegan version replace the whipping cream with coconut cream.
- You can top it also with chopped fresh fruit of your choice.
- The sweetness of the sauce totally depends on how sweet you want it.
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