Sunday, July 12, 2009

Panna Cotta with Mulberries, Cassis, and Teeny Tiny Tuiles

I really like pudding. I am particularly fond of silky, smooth egg custards, but this slightly firmer cream and gelatin dessert is not half bad either. The nice thing about panna cotta is the complete absence of fretting. You just mix it up and bung it in the fridge and forget about it until after dinner. The most stressful part is the unmolding, and if you don't feel like it, you don't even have to do that. So thank you to David Lebovitz for sharing Judy Witts' recipe, which I have here cut in half to serve four.

Panna Cotta

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 1 packet powdered gelatin
  • 3 Tbs. cold water
  • Heat the cream and sugar in a saucepan. Once the sugar is dissolved, remove from heat. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise, scrape the seeds into the cream, and drop the bean pod in too. Allow to infuse for half an hour.
  • Remove the bean, then put the cream back over medium heat and while it is rewarming lightly oil four custard cups with a neutral-tasting oil.
  • Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water in a medium-sized bowl or large measuring pitcher and let stand for 5-10 minutes.
  • Pour the very warm cream mixture of the gelatin and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved.
  • Divide the Panna Cotta mixture into the prepared cups, then chill them until firm, at least two hours, preferably more like four.
  • Run a sharp knife around the edge of each PannaCotta and unmold each onto a serving plate, garnishing as desired.
For the syrup, I simply simmered 100g of berries in about 4 Tbs. of cassis until it had reduced considerably. I mashed the berries with the back of a wooden spoon and then passed the mixture through a sieve to get rid of the seeds, trying to get as much of the pulp through the sieve as possible.


  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • splash vanilla
  • 2 egg whites, lightly beaten with a fork
  • 1/2 cup flour, sifted
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment and set aside.
  • Cream butter, sugar, and vanilla together on low spead. Beat in lightly egg whites a little at a time, beating very well after each addition. Fold in flour and mix until just combined.
  • Chill the batter for half an hour.
  • Place a circle stencil on parchment (or preferably silpat) lined baking sheet. Spread batter in stencil. Remove stencil and repeat, leaving some room between each one.
  • Bake about 7 minutes, or until edges of cookies are golden brown. Centers should remain light. Remove cookies from baking sheet at once and drape over something that will give your tuiles the shape they're named for.
  • Batter can be kept in the fridge up to a week.
The tuiles are very similar to last weeks langues du chat, though the proportions are slightly different and they take powdered instead of granulated sugar. I expected them to spread as the langues du chat did, but, probably because they use half the butter to the same amount of sugar, they didn't spread at all. So there you go--make your stencil the size you want your finished cookie to be.
A crisp cookie, a substantial, creamy pudding, and a berry whose acquaintance I am very happy to have made: a good end to any week.

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