Layered Panna Cotta with Strawberry Mousse and Strawberry Gelée



Last week I was asked to come up with a light dessert for follow a cordon bleu dinner party, preferably a custard. So I figured, what's a better light (eggless) custard than a fresh fruit flavored panna cotta. It's summertime and strawberries are in season, so I went to the store, picked up 4 pounds, and did my best not to eat them all while washing them.


Panna cotta is an eggless custard (italian cooked cream) stabilized by gelatin and is very simple to make, as long as you focus on the directions regarding the gelatin, which is sometimes tricky for me to do. Gelatin comes in two forms: sheet and powdered. I used powdered, but prefer sheet. Gelatin must be bloomed (hydrated) before using. The standard ratio of unflavored, powdered gelatin to water is 1 packet (1 tbsp.) gelatin: to 2 cups cold water. As for sheet gelatin, all you need to do is submerge the sheets in cold liquid (much easier for my lazy attitude towards conversions). However, if you do use sheet gelatin, make sure you squeeze out excess water before adding it to your recipe. 
I used gelatin in every component of this dessert, which honestly made me nervous about whether or not each part would set correctly. The only issue I had was time. You must be patient to work with layers, plus allow plenty of time, or else you will be up until 2am waiting around for the layers to set (my dilemma). I rushed my mousse a bit and ended up having to pour the panna cotta on top before the mousse was fully set. Luckily the final product still had good flavor and texture, because my mousse somewhat mixed with the panna cotta, but who knows, maybe I invented something better by doing so.



















Strawberry Gelée 
(Recipe from parsleysagesweet)
2 cups (300g) strawberries, diced
2/3 cup (200g) strawberry puree
1/4 cup (50g) sugar 
4g sheet gelatin or 1 tsp powdered gelatin+1/4 cup cold water
  1. Bloom gelatin in very cold water for 5-10 minutes. 
  2. In a small saucepan, heat half of the strawberry puree and sugar, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. 
  3. Remove from heat and transfer into a medium bowl. If using sheet gelatin, squeeze out water. Add gelatin to the warm puree and stir until dissolved. Stir in remaining puree and diced strawberries. 
  4. Pour mixture into individual glasses and allow to set in the fridge for 1 hour before starting the mousse.

Strawberry Mousse 
(Recipe from parsleysagesweet)
 1 cup (150g) strawberry puree
3.5 tsp. (15g) sugar
3.5g sheet gelatin or 1 tsp powdered gelatin + 3 tbsp. cold water
1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
  1. Bloom gelatin in very cold water for 5-10 minutes. 
  2. In a small saucepan, heat half of the strawberry puree and sugar, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. 
  3. Remove from heat and transfer into a medium bowl. If using sheet gelatin, squeeze out water. Add gelatin to the warm puree and stir until dissolved. Cool over ice bath, stirring frequently
  4. Whip cream in electric mixer or by hand with a whisk to soft-medium peak. Whisk a small amount of whipped cream into the strawberry mixer to thicken the consistency. Gently fold the rest of the whipped cream into the strawberry base until fully incorporated (until white streaks are gone), be careful not to overmix. 
  5. Pour strawberry mousse over the set  Gelée and allow to set in the fridge for about 2 hours before starting the panna cotta.

Vanilla Panna Cotta 
(Recipe from davidlebovitz)
4 (1L) cups heavy cream (or substitute half-and-half for some or all of the cream to cut the richness)
1/2 cup (100g) sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped (or 2 tsp. pure vanilla)
2 packets powdered gelatin (about 4-1/2 tsp.)
6 tbsp. (90ml) cold water 
  1. Combine the cream, sugar, and vanilla bean (not extract) in a saucepan over high heat until the sugar dissolves. 
  2. Remove from heat. *If using vanilla bean, cover the saucepan and let steep for 30 minutes, then strain out the bean. *If using vanilla extract, stir in right after removing from heat and continue. 
  3. Sprinkle gelatin over very cold water in a large bowl and let sit for 5-10 minutes until absorbed.
  4. Pour warm (reheat if needed) panna cotta mixture over the gelatin and stir until gelatin is completely dissolved. 
  5. Divide panna cotta into glasses and chill for at least for hours or overnight until firm. 




 Florentine Cookie Garnish
(Recipe from RealSimple)
Yield: 24 cookies

Ingredients:
1/2 cup silvered blanched almonds
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. light corn syrup
1 tbsp. heavy cream
1/8 tsp vanilla
pinch salt
1 tsp. all purpose flour


  1. In a food processor, process the almonds and sugar until finely ground. 
  2. In a small saucepan, combine almonds, sugar, butter, light corn syrup, heavy cream, vanilla, and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves, about 3-4 minutes. 
  3. Remove from heat and stir in flour. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. 
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a sheet pan with sil-pat or parchment paper (I recommend sil-pat)
  5. Dampen hands and roll dough into 1-inch balls and use your palm and fingers to flatten down to about 1/8-1/4 of an inch thick.  
  6. Bake 3 at a time for about 5 minutes or until golden brown. 
  7. Use a spatula to transfer to a cutting board and slice the cookie into shards. 
  8. Repeat with remaining dough.
*once they are out of the oven, these cookies harden very quickly, so work fast. If the cookie hardens up before you have a chance to cut it, put it back in the oven for a minute to re-soften it.





There's a new herb garden growing in Luis' backyard that I'm in love with. This gave me the right to brag about the mint garnish being freshly picked just hours before serving, and it's little things like that, that makes me happy. 


It's pictures like this that make me love what I do. 



No comments

Post a Comment

© A Little Baker
Maira Gall