The Perfect Panna Cotta Recipe

The Perfect Panna Cotta Recipe

How to make your friends think you're a chef (when you really aren't).
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Now that I am a sophomore and no longer need a meal plan to sustain myself, I have to put at least decent effort to cook for my friends and myself. Luckily, making basic food is not too complicated. When I want to impress some friends, however, there is an art to leaving an impression while still being new to fixing a meal. Today, I will be introducing a very simple dessert that is easy, cheap, and tastes extremely good. Panna Cotta is an Italian dessert that means "cooked cream" and is essentially just that. One of the reasons this dessert is so convenient for college is that it requires only a few simple ingredients and is quite literally as easy as boiling water. I have made panna cotta several times and this is the best recipe I have found by far. It treats your sweet tooth and has the perfect texture of being as close to a liquid as a solid is going to get.

A list of what you will need for the panna cotta:

  • 2.5 cups of heavy cream
  • 1.5 cups of whole milk
  • 5 table spoons of sugar
  • 1 packet on unflavored gelatin
  • A splash of vanilla

Also, here is some of the equipment that you will need to have as well. Iam adding this because I realize how difficult it can sometimes be to find equipment on campus.

  • Stove
  • Refrigerator
  • Medium Saucepan
  • Measuring equipment
  • Small dishes or cups for the panna cotta to set in

Lastly, for some extra flavor, you can also add some homemade sauce on top using fruit. I have no real or exact measurements for this, but if you just have a cup or so of berries, a little water, and some corn starch, you will be fine.

First, mix the milk, cream, sugar, and vanilla into the sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Then, turn the heat off and whisk in the gelatin. Once everything has been combined, pour the mixture into the small dishes or cups. Refrigerate this for four hours or overnight. Honestly, the longer it chills, the better. Hopefully, by the time you take it out, the panna cotta will jiggle like Jell-O without being too watery. It really is that simple.

If you want to add some fruit sauce to the panna cotta, I recommend waiting until the dessert has set before you start this part of the recipe. One of the better parts of having the berries is the sensation of the cool panna cotta and the warm sauce mixing together in your mouth. You do not want to ruin that by having the berries get cold.

To make the berry sauce, simply pour the amount of fruit you have into a sauce pan and add some water. However, do not add so much water that the product will end up watery; the tops of the berries should still be above the water. Honestly, you do not have to add much at all. You can add a little sugar or vanilla at this point, but I prefer the contrast of sweet and slightly sour for the final dessert. Turn the heat to low and stir the water and berries constantly. Mash the berries up a little near the end and add a small amount of corn starch. "Small" is the key word, here. A pinch is usually enough. One the sauce has thickened slightly, pour it over the panna cotta. All that is left to do is enjoy.

Even though it takes forever to set, you will no doubt impress your friends with this easy recipe. Everything you need for roughly four servings only costs about 15 dollars. The taste is great, but the fact that people will think you know what you're doing in a kitchen is even sweeter.

Cover Image Credit: https://cookinginsens.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/4065b.jpg

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A Letter To My Humans On Our Last Day Together

We never thought this day would come.
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I didn't sleep much last night after I saw your tears. I would have gotten up to snuggle you, but I am just too weak. We both know my time with you is coming close to its end, and I just can't believe it how fast it has happened.

I remember the first time I saw you like it was yesterday.

You guys were squealing and jumping all around, because you were going home with a new dog. Dad, I can still feel your strong hands lifting me from the crate where the rest of my puppy brothers and sisters were snuggled around my warm, comforting puppy Momma. You held me up so that my chunky belly and floppy wrinkles squished my face together, and looked me right in the eyes, grinning, “She's the one."

I was so nervous on the way to my new home, I really didn't know what to expect.

But now, 12 years later as I sit in the sun on the front porch, trying to keep my wise, old eyes open, I am so grateful for you. We have been through it all together.

Twelve “First Days of School." Losing your first teeth. Watching Mom hang great tests on the refrigerator. Letting you guys use my fur as a tissue for your tears. Sneaking Halloween candy from your pillowcases.

Keeping quiet while Santa put your gifts under the tree each year. Never telling Mom and Dad when everyone started sneaking around. Being at the door to greet you no matter how long you were gone. Getting to be in senior pictures. Waking you up with big, sloppy kisses despite the sun not even being up.

Always going to the basement first, to make sure there wasn't anything scary. Catching your first fish. First dates. Every birthday. Prom pictures. Happily watching dad as he taught the boys how to throw every kind of ball. Chasing the sticks you threw, even though it got harder over the years.

Cuddling every time any of you weren't feeling well. Running in the sprinkler all summer long. Claiming the title “Shotgun Rider" when you guys finally learned how to drive. Watching you cry in mom and dads arms before your graduation. Feeling lost every time you went on vacation without me.

Witnessing the awkward years that you magically all overcame. Hearing my siblings learn to read. Comforting you when you lost grandma and grandpa. Listening to your phone conversations. Celebrating new jobs. Licking your scraped knees when you would fall.

Hearing your shower singing. Sidewalk chalk and bubbles in the sun. New pets. Family reunions. Sleepovers. Watching you wave goodbye to me as the jam-packed car sped up the driveway to drop you off at college. So many memories in what feels like so little time.

When the time comes today, we will all be crying. We won't want to say goodbye. My eyes might look glossy, but just know that I feel your love and I see you hugging each other. I love that, I love when we are all together.

I want you to remember the times we shared, every milestone that I got to be a part of.

I won't be waiting for you at the door anymore and my fur will slowly stop covering your clothes. It will be different, and the house will feel empty. But I will be there in spirit.

No matter how bad of a game you played, how terrible your work day was, how ugly your outfit is, how bad you smell, how much money you have, I could go on; I will always love you just the way you are. You cared for me and I cared for you. We are companions, partners in crime.

To you, I was simply a part of your life, but to me, you were my entire life.

Thank you for letting me grow up with you.

Love always,

Your family dog

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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The Method Behind My Madness

How running is my favorite prescription

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High school put us in a box. I graduated with about 500 other students, so I guess my four corners were pretty big. By senior year, we thought that we had such control of our personality and destiny because of the seemingly vast experiences we had. However, we often forgot that we grew up beside these people, with few to none new faces. Everyone had their 'thing', whether it was sports, band, arts, or just being really academically gifted, everyone had a safe spot. A confined box of personality traits that were associated with their passion. I am not trying to put high school down in any way, I loved high school. I am more spectating how cool it was to have easily found a category that came with an identity. Because when you get to college, the box becomes spherical, a.k.a. the whole world is yours.

I remember during primary recruitment in middle August of my freshman year, I was asked what my passions were. And since I was months out of high school, I instinctively answered the question by talking about my love for soccer and memories from cross country. Obviously, I could not answer this for the rest of my life since the older I got, the farther away from my glory days I was. Luckily my dad had shown me that I could go on runs without having to chase a ball or to be on a team. Every morning during freshman year, I got up and explored on foot. That routine carried over to sophomore year and I was excited to find three other women in my house that had a burning itch to go for a run.

I am constantly asked why I run or how I do it. And honestly, I do not run for physical health reasons. Yes, I want my heart to be stronger and I hope to live a long healthy life, but I do not train for running yearly races, or to increase my speed, or to decrease my time. Being a health nut is far from my vocabulary and I have lots of things to prove it. Chicken tenders are my favorite food and I can eat chips and salsa like they are the main course at Mexican restaurants (feel free to fact check that with literally anyone!) Running is my new safe spot. People often say that I am crazy for going on daily runs, but I think that running keeps the crazy away. My mental health is pretty strong and I attribute that to running. Something about the combination of fresh air and sweating it out makes my problems not feel so big. For me, going on runs are catalysts for idea generating, solutions to mentally solving any problems, space from living in a house with 60 women (love you all so much), and my personal favorite: endorphins.

People always comment on how they would never run every single day or that running is not for them or that they cannot understand why I like to run. I know that they are just making conversation and not intentionally putting me down, however, sometimes I feel like I have to defend myself. So I have thought about it and come to a conclusion. Running cures all my bad moods and reduces my anxious mind. Concentrating on productivity, being a kinder human, and having an abundance of patience is all because of a little vitamin D and a lot of salty sweat. I am so fortunate to have found a recipe that is so simple to help me get on top of my life and destress from the hectic day. I genuinely hope that everyone finds the formula to keep away their gray days, and if anyone is inspired to go for a short jog after reading this, come find me and I probably already have my running shoes on.

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