I have such a treat for you guys today! Do you remember the review and giveaway I did of The Best Craft Cocktails and Bartending with Flair a few months ago? One of the co-authors of that book, Christine Dionese, has written a guest post for us today, sharing something new to me: gelatin-free panna cotta! I have gotten to know Christine over the past several months through social media, and I think she is pretty amazing. Not only does she have kittens she is also kind and funny and talented. And here’s some more:
Christine is an integrative health specialist, medical journalist and food writer. We are becoming friends over our love of dessert and cats! The garden & kitchen are her domains to help balance the more serious side of her work. She loves hanging out in the kitchen with her family, especially her two year old Milan- Christine likes to tell Milan stories about her great grandparents and what it was like growing up in the kitchen around food with them. She hopes Milan will love preparing beautiful food as much as she loves eating it!
And do visit Garden Eats, the fantastic gardening and medicinal culinary therapy site run by Christine, her mom and a few buddies. Everyone goes on about from farm to table. Garden Eats is all about from garden to face! Christine and Kath offer a ton of services through their site. For example, if you have difficulty figuring out what to eat, Garden Eats will hook you up with a menu planning subscription! How awesome for folks who know how and love to cook but just aren’t sure what to cook! Check out the rest of their services. Garden Eats has a fan page on facebook, too. Go see!
Stay tuned, Christine is working on two new books, a collection of medicinal food therapy recipes and gluten free traditional Italian dishes. I cannot wait to read them, especially the one about medicinal food therapy recipes, because I really do believe that food can heal or harm us. We all have to eat, but lots of what is sold as food in the US these days really…isn’t. I think it’s important to get from just feeding ourselves to nourishing ourselves, and I think Christine’s book and her websites can be a wonderful resource for us all. Christine is sharing an old family recipe with us today for Gelatin-Free Chocolate Mint Panna Cotta. This was a new one on me. It had never occurred to me to not use gelatin to set a panna cotta. But Christine’s grandmother used egg whites and then baked in a water bath, and that’s how Christine does it too!
- 2 1/3 c . heavy cream, (can sub full-fat coconut cream as well. See "Other Stuff to Know" below.)
- 5 medium size egg whites, (medium eggs a must for this recipe. See "Other Stuff to Know" below)
- 3 oz sugar
- 1/4 vanilla pod with seeds
- 1 t . organic peppermint oil
- 1/8 c . chopped chocolate, (2 Tablespoons)
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F and grease small Pyrex cups or molds (with butter or coconut oil)
- In a saucepan combine cream, sugar and vanilla pod. Bring to a simmer then quickly remove from heat, remove the vanilla pod and let cool completely.
- In a stainless or glass bowl beat egg whites with a fork s l o w l y... This will avoid creating foam or bubbles (you don't want holes in those creamy Panna Cotta!). Fork it until egg whites become liquid (will appear to have lost their elasticity).
- Mix well into cooled ingredients with a fork and divide the mixture among buttered molds.
- Immediately, pour boiling water into a glass or metal baking pan until the water level reaches 3/4 a way up of the height of the molds. Place molds in the pan after measuring water level so you won't splash water into Panna Cotta.
- Bake for 90 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.
- Turn oven off and allow Panna Cotta to completely cool inside the oven. My grandma always let Panna Cotta cool in the oven so I do too!
- Seal with reusable food or plastic wrap and chill at least 4-5 hours.
- Un-mold the Panna Cotta by spinning a knife heated in boiling water around the inside of each one. You may need a silicone spatula instead depending on the molds you use.
- Turn each one out onto a dessert plate holding the bottom of the mold with a warm dish cloth.
*If subbing coconut cream use cream off the top and save liquid for other recipes. You will need about 6 cans to be safe in the event cans are unevenly distributed with cream.
Make sure to use medium eggs for this recipe. Large eggs will give you too much volume, so your finished panna cotta could turn out over-sweetened and maybe leathery. And we don't want that. If you can't find medium eggs at your local grocery store, try farmer's markets.
What a gorgeous recipe and an unexpected technique! Thank you, Christine, for sharing your passion for organic food with us and for sharing your grandmother’s great panna cotta technique. I will definitely be giving this one a whirl!
Thanks for spending some time here today, and do come back tomorrow for the latest Throwback Thursday Food post.
Have a lovely day.