Every once in awhile I come across a recipe that looks delicious, quick, and simple to make. Strawberry Panna Cotta seemed like one of these, needing a mere 20 minutes of elbow grease. Despite all of this in my favor, I managed to butcher my poor panna cotta. It was a complete and utter disaster. My panna cotta (translation: "cooked cream") was not so panna and had the texture of cotta-ge cheese.
However, I find a cooking failure to be just as interesting as a cooking success (though remarkably less tasty), which is why I am sharing this with you. Failures become a mystery to solve--where did I go wrong and, more importantly, why? I hope you can learn from my mistakes and have a finished product that you can be proud of (and that I will be envious of).
It really is important to run the mixture through a fine sieve. I ran mine through a medium sieve since I have yet to invest in a fine grain sieve. This was mistake #1. By running it through the fine sieve, you can eliminate all of the strawberry seeds which makes the panna cotta very smooth and creamy. My panna cotta was littered with strawberry seeds.
Also, when the recipe states to let the gelatin to stand for 1 minute in the milk, it really means 1 minute. During this step I got distracted by heating the cream and let it stand for several minutes. Mistake #2. By letting it soften longer, the gelatin started to do what it does best--gelatinize. This meant that I had little lumpy gelatin bits in my finished panna cotta. Since panna cotta is known for being smooth in texture, this mistake brought me great shame.
Now do me a favor and don't bring shame upon your panna cotta. Do I as I say, not as I do, okay?
Strawberry Panna Cotta
Yields approximately 7 6-ounce servings
1 pound (3 cups) strawberries
1 3/4 cups well-shaken buttermilk
6 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin (a little over one packet)
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
In a blender, blend together the strawberries, buttermilk, and sugar until very smooth. Run the mixture through a fine sieve, discarding all solids.
Heat the cream in a small saucepan until boiling.
Sprinkle the gelatin onto the milk and let stand for 1 minute. Add the cream and stir until gelatin is fully dissolved.
Combine strawberry and cream mixture until thoroughly mixed. Pour into molds and freeze for at least 8 hours.
To remove, dip molds into hot water for 2-3 seconds and invert molds to release panna cottas.