Sunday, February 27, 2011

Daring Bakers Challenge 52 Pannacotta.

The latest Daring Kitchen Challenge is Pannacotta and Florentines, I was a bit slack with making mine which gave me the opportunity to read Audax’s notes.

The result was Vanilla Pannacotta with Caramel Poached Pears and Hazelnut Florentines.

Blog-checking lines: The February 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen. She chose to challenge everyone to make Panna Cotta from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and Nestle Florentine Cookies.

Recipe Source: Mallory used a Giada De Laurentiis recipe for PannaCotta and Nestle Florentine Cookies.

I decided to simplify the pannacotta recipe a little and leave out the honey, I also wanted to do some poached pears and found the perfect ones at our local farmers market.

Paradise pears are only 3 or 4 centimeters high about 1 to 1 1/2 inches with all the flavour of a full size pear packed in.

Preparation time:
20-25 minutes to prepare the Panna Cotta - at least 6 hours to chill
20-25 minutes to prepare the cookies 6-8 minutes to bake
Equipment required:
Small mixing bowl
Two medium sized heavy bottom pot or saucepan
Wooden spoon and/or whisk
Glasses or ramekins - something to pour and serve your Panna Cotta in
Measuring cups
Measuring spoons
Silpat or wax paper or parchment paper
Baking sheet
Small bowl

1 cup (240 ml) whole milk
1 tablespoon (one packet) (15 ml) (7 gm) (¼ oz) unflavored powdered gelatin
3 cups (720 ml) whipping cream (30+% butterfat)
2 tablespoon (15 ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon Natural Vanilla Extract
Pinch of salt
1. Pour the milk into a bowl or pot and sprinkle gelatin evenly and thinly over the milk (make sure the bowl/pot is cold by placing the bowl/pot in the refrigerator for a few minutes before you start making the Panna Cotta). Let stand for 30 minutes to soften the gelatin.
2. Pour the milk into the saucepan/pot and place over low heat on the stove. Heat this mixture until the gelatine has dissolved then leave it aside to cool to room temperature while you do the next step.
3. Whip the cream to soft peaks then fold in the gelatine/milk mixture.
4. Remove from heat, allow it to sit for a few minutes to cool slightly. Then pour into the wine glass or ramekin.
5. Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight.
I made the Pannacotta mid afternoon and we ate it about 3 hours later. It was amazing, the texture was so smooth and silky it was incredible.

I also poached the Paradise pears

1 cinnamon stick 5 cm
2 cups water
1 cup brown sugar
2 cloves
2 pears or 6 small paradise pears
1 teaspoon vanilla paste

Heat all ingredients except pears to a simmer, add pears cover and cook over low heat until just soft. After I took the pears out of the syrup I gently simmered the remaining syrup until it was thick and used this over the pears.

The amazing Audax always gives us the most useful of information and to get the whole lot you'll just have to go and join Daring Kitchen however in a nut shell he gave the following recommendations (This is a direct quote)

So to obtain the most flavoursome with the best melt-in-your-mouth textured panna cotta
1. Steep the flavouring up to 48 hours in the milk
2. Bloom your powered gelatin in the cold milk until it is full hydrated at least 30 minutes
3. Gently heat the bloomed gelatin and flavoured milk until the gelatin is fully dissolved (do not boil)
4. Let the dissolved flavoured gelatin mixture cool slowly to room temperature which allows for the protein bonds in gelatin to slowly rearrange and form a tight structured web. If gelatin is cooled too quickly the protein chains form a bulky weak-crossed web which has an unappealing mouth-feel.
5. When the flavoured gelatine mixture has cooled to room temperature heat 3/4 of the cream to blood heat (do not boil) add 2 tablespoons to the cooled gelatin mixture to temper it, then add the rest of the warmed cream
6. Gently whip the other 1/4 of cream (that is very cold) until thickened avoid air bubbles then fold into the gelatin mixture. Let cool 15 minutes then pour into moulds and then place into refrigerator.
7. Don't use any fruit such as fresh or frozen pineapple, kiwi fruit, papayas, pineapple, peaches, mangos, guavas, and figs because the gelatin won't set. They contain enzymes which break apart proteins like the collagen in gelatin. When the fruit is canned or cooked before using, it is heat treated, which destroys the enzyme and the fruit can be used. More acidic fruit, such as strawberries and citrus fruit may require more gelatin to set."

The florentines made a delicous dessert just bloody amazing. I cannot rhapsodize enough about how good this dessert was.

Hazelnut florentines
75 gm unsalted butter
75 grams ground hazelnuts
75 grams granulated sugar
50 grams plain (all purpose) flour
30 ml golden syrup
30 ml whole milk
1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla extract
pinch of salt
3/4 cup chocolate of choice

Directions: Preheat oven to moderately hot 375°F (190°C) (gas mark 5). Prepare your baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper.
1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan, then remove from the heat.
2. To the melted butter add hazelnuts, sugar, flour, syrup, milk, vanilla, and salt. Mix well. Drop a tablespoon full, three inches (75 mm) apart, onto your prepared baking sheet. Flatten slightly with the back of your tablespoon, or use a spatula.
3. Bake in preheated oven for 6-8 minutes, until cookies are golden brown. Cool completely on the baking sheets.
4. While the cookies are cooling melt your chocolate until smooth either in the microwave (1 1/2 minutes), or stovetop (in a double boiler, or a bowl that fits atop a saucepan filled with a bit of water, being sure the water doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl).
5. Peel the cookies from the silpat or parchment and place face down on a wire rack set over a sheet of wax/parchment paper (to keep counters clean).
6. Spread a tablespoon of chocolate on the bottom/flat side of your cookie, sandwiching another (flat end) cookie atop the chocolate.

I didn't do the chocolate and the sandwiching. I am watching my weight and honestly they didn't need it.


Renata said...

Panna Cotta with poached pears must have tasted heavenly!

Stitch1Peta said...

It did it was fabulous

Valérie said...

Beautiful job, I love the inclusion of poached pears! Bravo!

Sirius73 said...

Your Panna Cotta looks pretty. I like the combination with the pear.

Lisa said...

Poached pears and hazelnut florentines with panna cotta sounds amazing, and both turned out beautiful! Nicely done!