With pistachio yogurt under our belt the next step was making a cultured panna cotta. Panna cotta is a dessert that has made an indelible impression on us. At its best it is smooth and luscious, delicate, rich, and softly sweet. Funny that it was the first thing that popped into our heads because we were never planning to cook this cream.
We combined milk, cream, sugar, non-fat milk powder, salt, vanilla and yogurt in the blender and pureed it until smooth. This generated a frothy head of tiny air bubbles. I hastily poured the mixture into a shallow baking pan. I opted not to decant the base from the air bubbles. This ended up being a controversial decision. We put the mixture into the CVap set at 44°C. (110°F.) and cultured the mixture for 4.5 hours. When I pulled it from the CVap it had a light wiggle and the air bubbles had set into a honeycomb layer. We chilled the panna no-cotta overnight. When we spooned into it it had a layer of firm bubbles with a smooth tangy base beneath. It was a beautiful panna cotta. The bubbles were not my favorite, though Aki liked the texture. Next time I'm going to decant the bubbles so we can compare. And I think another hour in the CVap will give us a slightly firmer texture that will mimic our favorite panna cottas.
March 13, 2009