Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Panna Cotta with Cumquats & Stewed Rhubarb

In keeping with my adventures in new dishes, I decided to make my very first panna cotta. I did my research and was drawn to David Lebovitz's "Perfect Panna Cotta" recipe . . . but knowing that I was going to be eating most of this by myself I was a wee bit scared of all that cream so I decided to put off the big splurge and concoct a 'healthier' version.  
First I combined two tablespoons water, the juice of one lemon and 1 packet (about 1.5 teaspoons) gelatin in a little bowl. Stir to combine and then let it sit. (Below is a photo of me holding the bowl vertically and the gelatin kindly does its thing and stays in the bowl - very entertaining.)
In a medium sized bowl combine a heaping 2 cups of plain lowfat greek-style yogurt and 3/4 cup half and half. Stir and set aside. Next, in a saucepan combine 1/2 cup cream, 1/2 cup half and half and a skimpy cup of sugar. Stir over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and add in your gelatin mixture. To complete, add the warm cream mixture to the yogurt mixture. Here's where I got a wee bit creative - owning no fancy molds or ramekins, I got out the ol' muffin tin, greased it up, and poured in my panna cotta (worked like a charm). Et voila! Je suis fini! Pop the panna cotta in the fridge and chill for 6 - 36 hours (whenever you finish 'em off).
To serve, my lovely mother made some stewed rhubarb (she put 4 stalks of rhubarb, in chunks, 1 cup of sugar and enough water to just about cover the rhubarb; simmer for 30-40 minutes until it is tender but not complete mush) and I popped out the panna cotta added some freshly sliced cumquats and drizzled with the stewed rhubarb. I thought it turned out pleasantly delicious - the panna cotta was creamy but not too heavy and it contrasted nicely with the flavorful rhubarb and tart cumquats. Next time, I will try the heavy-duty full cream version but this was a successful alternative if I do say so myself.

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