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 Wanting to make a Panna Cotta but without the trouble of pureeing fruits like mangos to make the Panna Cotta, I found this white chocolate recipe on Taste.com.au. The addition of the coffee syrup intrigued me as it seemed too delicious not to give it a try. I’ve made this a couple times already and have made a few changes to the recipe to my liking. As something extra, I tried to add some toffee on top just to make it look nicer.

White Chocolate Panna Cotta with Espresso Coffee Syrup (Taste.com.au)

Equipment
You will need eight 150ml capacity dariole moulds for this recipe. If you like to serve it in bowls, just any small bowls will do.

Ingredients
Panna Cotta
600ml thickened cream
1 x 180g pkt white chocolate, broken into small pieces
160ml (2/3 cup) milk (can use light milk)
70g (1/3 cup) caster sugar
2 tbs boiling water
3 tsp powdered gelatine

Coffee Syrup (Version 1)
100ml freshly brewed strong espresso coffee or 3 Nespresso capsules using the espresso function
3 or 4 tsp white sugar

Coffee Syrup (Version 2)
100ml freshly brewed espresso coffee (3 Nespresso capsules using the espresso function – froth skimmed off)
100g raw sugar/caster sugar

Toffee (Taste.com.au)
215g (1 cup) caster sugar
60ml (1/4 cup) water

Panna Cotta
Method
1. Heat water in a small saucepan over medium/high heat until it starts to boil. In a separate heat-proof bowl place the cream, chocolate, milk and caster sugar in the bowl and over the saucepan over medium/low heat.   Cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes or until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth.
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2. Place the boiling water in a heatproof bowl. Sprinkle with gelatine and whisk with a fork to remove any lumps. Set aside for 3 minutes or until gelatine dissolves. (I also just place the bowl of gelatine on top of my bowl of boiling water which helps keep it warm/dissolve any extra gelatine powder)
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3. Add gelatine to cream mixture and whisk to combine.

4. Pour among eight 150ml capacity dariole moulds. Place on a baking tray. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 6 hours to set. Or overnight. Make sure the plastic wrap is tight as some of the heat from the mixture may create water droplets and affect the consistency on the top layer of the panna cotta (Although not an issue if using dariole moulds and turning them upside down)

5. Dip moulds, 1 at a time, into hot water for 1-2 seconds, then turn onto serving plates. Drizzle with coffee syrup (steps below) to serve.

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Coffee Syrup (Version 1)

1. Place the coffee and white sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Set aside to cool.

Note: You may not even need to heat it over a saucepan if you can dissolve the sugar in the hot coffee/espresso. If using Nespresso capsules, just skim off the froth before serving.

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Coffee Syrup (Version 2)
1. Place the coffee and sugar in a small saucepan over medium/high heat until it starts to boil. Reduce down to a medium/low heat and stir until the syrup coats the back of the spoon or until the consistency desired. Please note that if you place the syrup in the fridge (or when cooled down) the syrup will be slightly more thicker and viscous than when it was cooking. Set aside to cool and then place into the fridge if you prefer it to be a thicker consistency.

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Toffee
1. Stir water and sugar in a saucepan over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Don’t bring it to the boil until all the sugar is dissolved.
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2. Increase heat to high. To dissolve any sugar left on the side of the pan, brush down with a wet pastry brush. Bring to boil.
3. Cook until the mixture is a rich golden colour – don’t let it burn. Remove from heat – the residual heat continues to colour toffee.

4. Allow to cool and break into pieces to decorate. Please only add the toffee when wanting to serve, otherwise the moisture from the panna cotta will result in the toffee to turn to liquid.
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Notes:

  • Toffee troubleshooting: A common problem when making toffee is crystallisation. The sugar clumps together into a white and grainy syrup that turns into a messy solid mass. To avoid starting again, try these tips.
  • Dissolve the sugar completely before increasing the heat and bringing the mixture to the boil. You’ll know when it’s dissolved – there won’t be any crystals on your spoon.
  • Brush any sugar crystals from the side of the pan with a wet pastry brush during the toffee-making process. Undissolved sugar on the side of the pan causes crystallisation.
  • Don’t stir the toffee mixture once it comes to the boil – this also leads to crystallisation.

Impressions

I reduced the sugar from the original recipe as I find the white chocolate already adds a significant amount of sugar to the panna cotta. The panna cotta here is smooth and creamy but slightly denser due to the larger quantity of thickened cream used. Some may prefer a lighter panna cotta (I actually do) but due to the amount of cream used and in the white chocolate too, it really can’t be helped. I’m not sure if increasing the milk quantity and lowering the cream would result in a panna cotta that sets properly but certainly I’ll keep you updated to see if that does work.

The coffee syrup (Number 1) is a more liquid syrup with less sugar. It allows the bitterness and strong espresso flavour to come out and since the panna cotta has enough sweetness, the contrast makes an excellent combination.

Version 2 of the coffee syrup is sweeter due to the requirement to make it more viscous and thicker. You don’t know how many times I tried reducing the first version into a thicker syrup when it couldn’t possibly do so with the minimal sugar added. The consistency of version 2 is lovely though.

As mentioned above, the toffee should only be added at the very last minute, as it will start to turn to liquid when either in contact with the panna cotta or coffee syrup slowly.

This recipe was a crowd pleaser so I definitely can recommend giving it a try and it’s very easy to make as well.

 

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