In Your First, we share the 101 versions of recipes for foods you thought were too hard to make but TOTALLY AREN’T. Today: panna cotta.
Photo credit: Martha Stewart
Panna cotta requires gelatin.
The clear sheets of whatever-it-is that start stiff and, with water, wilt away into nothing, seem like ingredients only Wylie Dufresne should handle. But don’t let the color (or lack thereof) or the texture (of which there are two) stress you out. This is all working with gelatin entails: let it sit in cold milk or water, then stir it over heat until it dissolves. After that, it just becomes warm liquid.
Repeat this chant after us: Rest, stir, on with the recipe. Rest, stir, on with the recipe. Rest, stir, have a drink, on with the recipe.
In the case of this Chocolate Panna Cotta, the rest of the recipe is about mixing said warm liquid with another liquid and then chilling it. There’s no more cooking! So yes, rest, stir, mold. Have a drink. Eat dessert.
1 1/2 tsp. unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cups fat-free (skim) milk
3 Tbsp. sugar
3 oz. semisweet chocolate, broken into pieces
3 oz. reduced-fat bar cream cheese, room temperature
1 pinch salt
Sour cream, for serving (optional)
In a small saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold milk. Let stand until gelatin softens, about 5 minutes. Cook over low, stirring until gelatin has dissolved (it will feel smooth when rubbed between fingers), about 3 minutes. Add sugar; stir until dissolved. Add remaining cup of milk; cook over low until warm (do not boil), about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
Place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl; heat on high in 20-second increments, stirring between each, until melted. Add cream cheese to chocolate; using a rubber spatula, stir until uniform in color. Pour cup gelatin mixture into chocolate mixture; stir until smooth. Gradually add remaining gelatin mixture, then salt, stirring until smooth. Divide among four small glasses; refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours. Serve topped with sour cream, if desired.