I had a brief moment of hesitation when deciding to post this recipe. Very brief. Like, so brief it is barely worth mentioning. And yet here I am, talking about it...
But THEN! Then, I came to my senses and started typing! I thought that another custard recipe so soon after creme brulee might be too much, but ultimately, I had to share this. How could I possibly keep from telling you about my new go-to, make-ahead dessert? I can't. That is why we are here.
This is essentially a buttermilk panna cottta. Panna whatsa? If you haven't ever had-or heard of-panna cotta, lets review! Its Italian, it means 'cooked cream', and it is spectacular. It is a bit like a creme brulee, but instead of egg yolks being used as the thickener to make it set, you use gelatin instead. What does this mean? It means that instead of a rich and decadent custard, you get a light, creamy, clean custard. Also, there is very little cooking involved! Always kinda nice, right? It gets warmed on the stove just enough to dissolve the gelatin and then the fridge does all the work!
I make plain panna cotta every once in awhile, but the high ratio of buttermilk to cream in this recipe is what drew me in. I still make it the regular way (i.e. mainly cream and/or milk giving it a more plain flavor and a good canvas for whatever fruit you serve it with) but the tang in this version makes it its own dessert. A whole new ball game here, people!! Its light and lovely and a little bit tart and gaaaaaahh!
And can I just say that the fact that it is such a lovely bright white is one of my favorite things. I like white. It just clean and perfect and delightful. Just like this dessert.
There. Aren't you glad I decided to mention it?
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit
2 T water
2 tsp unflavored gelatin
1 c heavy cream
1/2 c sugar
2 c low fat buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
assorted fresh or frozen berries, optional
In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and set aside to soften for five minutes. Meanwhile, heat the cream and sugar in a small saucepan over medium low heat until very hot, but not bubbling. As soon as it starts to steam, turn off the heat and whisk in the softened gelatin. Whisk until smooth and gelatin is dissolved. Set aside to cool until just warm. Whisk in the buttermilk and vanilla. Waiting until it cools keeps the buttermilk from curdling and the vanilla from evaporating. Spray 6 (5-6 oz) ramekins lightly with oil and wipe excess away with a paper towel. Carefully divide the cream evenly among the cups. Chill until very cold. Serve in the ramekin or lightly run a small knife around the edge and turn out into a plate. Top with fruit it desired. Cremes keep perfectly up to three days in the fridge.