“Panna cotta” is Italian for “cooked cream,” and that’s exactly what it is. The result is a smooth, custard-like yumminess made without eggs or oven time. This Coffee Panna Cotta is easy enough to make every weekend, but elegant enough for a special occasion.
I use instant espresso powder because it’s easy to keep on hand, but if you have some brewed espresso on hand, you can certainly use that. Just be sure to chill it before adding the gelatin to it.
If you’re cutting down on sugar, it can be made with Splenda Blend. I don’t recommend making it with only Splenda. The consistency becomes very jello-like, and there’s something very, very wrong about opaque jello.
This is not all the ingredients; just the ones for the
Coffee Panna Cotta
1/3 cup very cold water
1 t. instant espresso powder
1 (.25 ounce) envelope unflavored gelatin
2-1/2 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup white sugar (for low carb: 2 to 3 T. Splenda Blend)
2 t. Kahlua (optional; does contain sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Stir the espresso powder into the cold water until completely dissolved. Stir in the gelatin powder.
It may want to clump at first, but stir until it looks fairly homogenized. It will still look sort of grainy. Set this in the fridge.
In a saucepan (size at least 2 qt.), stir together the heavy cream and sugar or Splenda (and Kahlua, if you want), and set over medium heat. Bring to a full boil (which may take up to 10 minutes), stirring frequently or constantly. Watch carefully so it doesn’t boil over. Boiling cream doesn’t look like boiling water: it mostly just has bumps moving just under the surface, with an occasional bubble breaking the surface.
Retrieve the gelatin mixture from the fridge…
It will look even more grainy now; that’s okay. Whisk it into the cream until completely dissolved. Cook for two minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Leave it off the heat for 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
Clean-up tip: fill the sauce pan and liquid measuring cup with cold water now, to soak off the remaining gelatin.
When the cream mixture has cooled to about room temperature, pour into individual dishes. Espresso cups, small ramekins or dipping bowls work great. Putting them all on one tray or baking sheet makes transporting them to fridge easier.
In my house, what comes next is my husband wandering into the kitchen. “What’s this?”
“Coffee panna cotta,” I answer.
“Can I have some?,” he asks.
“Well, it’s not nearly done, it needs to…”
Too late! He’s got dish and spoon in hand, enjoying coffee-cream soup for lunch.
Cover the remaining dishes with cling wrap, and move to the fridge. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.
If you can.
6-10 servings, depending on what size dishes you use.