Panna Cotta translates as “cooked cream,” but in this recipe it is not so much cooked as warmed and then thickened with gelatine and sour cream to achieve the thick, heavy cream found in Italy’s Piedmont region, where this dish originated. We demoed this recipe at Brookside Gardens on December 6, 2013, accompanied by mandarin oranges and chocolate syrup. It is also delicious all on its own. Use heavy cream, not ultrapasturized, which contains additives, and be sure the sour cream contains only cream and culture, no other additives. This recipe unmolds with a soft, creamy finish. For a firmer panna cotta, increase the gelatin to 1 3/4 teaspoons. Serves eight full-sized desserts; up to 24 minis. Recipe from Splendid Table.
1½ t unflavored gelatin
2 T cold water
3 C heavy whipping cream
½ C sugar, or more to taste
Pinch of salt
1 ½ t vanilla extract
1 cup (8-ounce container) sour cream
Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water. Let stand for 5 minutes. In a 3-quart saucepan, warm the cream with the sugar, salt, and vanilla over medium-high heat. Do not let it boil. Stir in the gelatin until thoroughly dissolved. Take the cream off the heat and cool about 5 minutes.
Put the sour cream in a medium bowl. Gently whisk in the warm cream a little at a time until smooth. Taste for sweetness. It may need another teaspoon of sugar. Rinse 8 2/3-cup ramekins, custard cups, or coffee cups with cold water. Fill each one three-quarters full with the cream. Chill 4 to 24 hours. To serve, either unmold by packing the molds in hot towels and then turning each out onto a dessert plate, or serve in their containers.