When this dish was on my menu, I filled rocks glasses halfway with the panna cotta and topped it with a thin layer of soft ganache, a whirl of stabilized whipped cream, housemade mint and chocolate sprinkles and an agar gummy cherry. If you're so inclined, a little chocolate sauce, whipped cream, sprinkles and/or a cherry on top will really take it over the top, but this panna cotta is delicious and nostalgic just by itself.
I tend to use more milk than cream in my panna cotta to give it a lighter texture, but to get the flavor just right I used equal parts in this recipe, just like you would do in an ice cream base. And don't forget the vanilla—it changes the toothpastey pure peppermint sensation into something that actually tastes like a classic ice cream flavor.
Note: You can use equal parts cream and milk instead of the half and half, just use the cream for the heated half.
About the Author: Anna Markow is a pastry chef obsessed with doing things that no one else does and giving unusual ingredients their time to shine. You can follow her sometimes-pastry-related thoughts on Twitter @VerySmallAnna and see her adventures in creativity on her website, VerySmallAnna.
- Yield:serves 6
- Active time: 15 minutes
- Total time:2 hours
- 3 1/2 cups half and half, divided
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon powdered gelatin
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 drops liquid green food coloring
- 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
Add 2 cups of half and half to a medium saucepan. Stir in sugar and sprinkle with gelatin. Set aside five minutes to allow gelatin to bloom. Gently heat saucepan mixture over low heat, stirring gently. Heat until almost simmering. Both the sugar and gelatin should be completely melted. Remove from heat.
Combine remaining half and half, peppermint extract, vanilla, and food coloring in a medium bowl. Pour hot mixture into bowl and gently whisk to combine.
Place bowl over an ice bath and stir gently with a spatula until mixture is cold to the touch. Do not use a whisk or you will introduce too much air and create a strange final texture in your panna cotta. Once cold, move to refrigerator or freezer. Check every five minutes. Once mixture is thick, remove immediately. This will take about ten minutes in the freezer, up to half an hour in the refrigerator.
While you chill panna cotta mixture, melt chocolate in a small glass or metal bowl over simmering water or in 30 second bursts in the microwave. You want it fluid but not hot.
Drizzle chocolate in thin ribbons over thick panna cotta mixture. Allow chocolate to harden (it will go from shiny to matte) before gently breaking up and stirring into mixture. Repeat until all chocolate is used. Pour into six 8 or 9 ounce clear glasses and transfer to refrigerator to finish setting, at least one hour. Serve.