Since making panna cotta last month for the first time in over a year, I have been on a somewhat panna cotta kick. It is so luscious and creamy with such a wonderful mouth feel and it makes such a pretty finale to a meal. My brother-in-law was in town last night and I was making homemade pizza, so it was pretty casual. I wanted a dessert that was not carb based andI knew I had panna cotta on the brain. It’s all Italian, right?
This recipe uses muscovado sugar, an extra dark brown sugar that has a nice molasses flavor. If you don’t have this available you can also use regular dark brown sugar or light brown sugar with a tablespoon of molasses added. It’s not completely necessary, but it adds such a deep butterscotch flavor.
Best of all, I had these vintage Tupperware molds that I got at a garage sale and pretty much forgot about that were perfect for this! It makes me feel like less of a hoarder when I can actually use some of the things I acquire along the way.
I served this with dulce de leche and shaved bittersweet chocolate, but the real final clincher on this dessert is a sprinkling of fleur de sel. I used a celtic grey sea salt. This final note sends this dessert into culinary heaven! The sprinkling of salt really brings out the butterscotch flavor and makes it soar. Enjoy!
BUTTERSCOTCH PANNA COTTA
3/4 cup water, to be divided
2 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin (I use knox)
3 cups heavy cream (34-36 %)
3/4 cup packed dark muscovado sugar, to be divided
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
seeds from one vanilla bean (optional – I have a thing for vanilla)
2 teaspoons dark rum
Garnish- flaky sea salt, shaved chocolate, dulce de leche
Place 1/4 cup of the water in a small bowl and sprinkle with the gelatin. This is to soften the gelatin before using. Let it sit while you proceed with the rest of the recipe.
In a medium saucepan, bring the cream, vanilla bean seeds (if using), salt and 1/2 cup of the dark sugar to a gentle simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat.
In another saucepan (2 quart), place the remaining 1/2 cup water and the 1/4 cup sugar and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir a few times to completely dissolve the sugar . Let this mixture cook for about 5 minutes, or until it is thickish and syrupy. It will reduce to about 3 tablespoons. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cream mixture. It might bubble up a bit so be careful. Whisk in the softened gelatin and stir until all of the gelatin is dissolved, at least 2 minutes. Stir in the rum and vanilla extract.
Ladle or pour into 6 3/4- cup molds of your choice. Loosely cover with wrap (not touching the panna cotta) and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
To serve, dip the bottom of you molds into a bowl of hot water for about 10 seconds. Run a sharp knife around the edge and flip over onto a plate.
Recipe source: Panna Cotta by Camilla V. Saulsbury