Sweet and Creamy Saffron Panna Cotta

Saffron Panna Cotta Creme

Panna Cotta, an exquisite puddle of cream, originated in the Piemonte region of Italy, is the perfect and elegant dessert for every special occasion. A highly versatile dish especially when it comes to its ingredients and uses. This subtly flavoured, undeniably delicious and delicately aromatic chilled dessert is ideal for picnics, perfect for warm days and festive enough for Christmas. To make it, you require a modicum of ingredients including sweet heavy cream thickened with gelatin and aromatized with coffee, saffron, matcha, vanilla and other flavourings. Adding good quality Saffron to the traditional rich and creamy panna cotta recipe will enhance its taste, give it a deep flavour and a beautiful yellow colour. You can also enhance its luscious flavour and make it more scrumptious by putting fresh fruits and drizzling a flavoured syrup of your choice over the top.

Serving size: This recipe yields 8 servings.

Ingredients for Panna Cotta

For Panna Cotta Creme 

  • Heavy whipping cream (3½ cups)
  • Saffron threads (½ teaspoon)
  • Cold milk (cup)
  • Granulated sugar (5 tablespoons)
  • Gelatin granulated (1 tablespoon)
  • Grated zest of orange (2 to 3 teaspoons)

For Garnish

  • Sliced almonds (1 tablespoon)
  • Golden raisins (1 tablespoon)
  • Saffron threads (optional)
  • Dried desiccated coconut (½ tablespoon)
  • Organic rose petals (3-4)

Panna Cotta with Saffron Preparation

  • Chill the moulds and glasses in which you want to serve panna cotta. Place them on the tray and put them in the refrigerator. Chilling them will help the dessert to remain cool at the time of serving.
  • To give it a smooth texture, you need to bloom the gelatin precisely. This step simply requires stirring of the two ingredients i.e. gelatin and cold milk.
  • Take cold milk in a bowl and sprinkle gelatin in it. Allow it to bloom. It will take 5 minutes for gelatin to dissolve wholly. Be careful not to let it sit for more than 10 to 15 minutes otherwise it will become chewy and hard. Give it a gentle stir to make it combine evenly with the milk.

Cooking instructions

  • Heat the milk in a medium-size saucepan on a low flame and put few threads of saffron in it.
  • Now put heavy cream, sugar and orange zest in it and cook in on medium flame while gently stirring it until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  • Turn off the flame when the bubbles start appearing around the edge of the pan and cover the mixture with a lid. Set the mixture aside for 10 minutes and allow the flavours to steep.
  • After letting it rest for 10 mins uncover the lid and strain the heavy cream in a separate bowl with help of a fine mesh strainer to avoid lumps that may have developed as a result of the heating process. Press the mixture with help of a spoon and spatula to get maximum flavour from saffron threads.
  • Take the strained mixture into the pan and add the cold milk gelatin mixture to it.
  • Place the pan on medium heat and tenderly stir it with a spoon. Warm the mixture for 3-5 minutes but do not let it boil.
  • After 5 mins remove the saucepan off the flame and whisk it until it becomes smooth. Let it cool to a lukewarm temperature.
  • This process may take an hour so to expedite the process you can use an ice bath. For this take a large bowl and put ice in it. Make sure the bowl is large enough to accommodate the medium size pan easily.
  • When the classic panna cotta mixture becomes cool, remove the tray with chilled moulds and glasses and fill them with a panna cotta mixture. Cover each mould and glass with plastic wrap and chill them in the refrigerator for 4 hours.
  • If you have set your panna cotta in a mould, you need to unmould it in a glass or serving plate.
  • In case if panna cotta does not come out easily, run a knife around the edges. You can also place the mould in warm water for 5-10 seconds (be sure not to let water flow over the top) and then try unmoulding, it will come out easily.

Serve them in plain small glasses. Drizzle some syrup of your choice onto the top. Garnish them with sliced almonds, golden raisins, a few saffron threads, dried desiccated coconut and organic rose petals. It will elevate your presentation and make your dessert stand out.

Useful tips

  1. Use a precise amount of gelatin while making panna cotta. excess gelatin will make it look stiffer and less of it will make it look more puddle like.
  2. Do not overheat gelatin otherwise, it will not set properly.
  3. Make sure to simmer the heavy cream mixture on low heat as overheating will prevent the panna cotta from setting properly.

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