Monthly Miettes – Buttermilk Panna Cotta
You know that question about what one would like to have if one were to be stranded on a desert island? Somehow, I don’t think I’d survive very long, I’d be too busy trying to decide between the dozen or so desserts that would keep me from going insane! Cheesecake (mine!) and Panna Cotta would top that list!
This month I finally took part in a monthly fun challenge called Monthly Miettes, a brainchild of one of my blogger friends, Aimee White, at Food, Je tA’imee. Some of you would have come across a couple of the recipes she posted here at Christmas time last year, Apple Butter and Spiced Cranberry Sauce. Aimee is a wonderful blogger from Halifax, Canada and was my very first blogger friend and was extremely generous with her advice and tips on how to get going when I first started last year. Anyway, Monthly Miettes as Aimee has named her challenge is based on a cookbook called Miette, an absolutely gorgeous little book with scalloped edges and stunning photos with glorious recipes to match! The book is by Meg Ray who owns the awesome pastry shop in San Francisco that the book is named after. Aimee fell in love with the book and was determined to bake her way through it.
Now, there’s one catch to this challenge. We’re not publishing the actual recipes, the idea is that when you fall in love with the recipes, you will get hold of a copy for yourself, go home and take your time studying its contents. At the very least, it will make a pretty addition to your bookcase/kitchen!
Now, the challenge at hand – Panna Cotta. I love it! I must confess I have made my fair share of panna cottas (plural?) so, in some respects, this was a walk in the park. However, I’ve never used buttermilk for it before. I was therefore intrigued to see how that would change the overall taste of this decadent pudding. Would the buttermilk add a sharp, tangy aspect to a normally creamy, almost bland flavour? And if it did, what would you serve it with? The usual strong, tangy fruit topping or sauce or perhaps it would go better with butterscotch or coffee? Maybe that’s why Meg suggested serving it with just some fruit. Needless to say, I was looking forward to it for more reasons than one! How could I not? Although we were allowed to switch it up, I decided to stay true to Meg’s recipe, just playing around at the end.
So, I decided to top mine with a variety of flavours, the usual berries with accompanying syrup, lime jelly and rose geranium jelly (the very first picture). The last is basically jelly flavoured with pure essential oil of rose geranium. I studied aromatherapy when I was expecting my first, Trafford, 12 years ago in the hope that it would complement a lifetime of yoga and allow me to have as natural a labour as possible. To say that that went spectacularly pearshaped, is putting it mildly, but that’s a story for another day or even ancient history! Rose geranium oil is one of my favourite essential oils and I use it for a variety of things, therapeutic and culinary. For example, you’ll find it in my bakhlava recipe, instead of rose water. It smells a lot like rose but is sharper and more uplifting then either rose or plain geranium oil. When I was looking through the recipes in Miette the first time, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Meg uses it too!
When the final mix was fresh and still warm, it did have a slight sharp tang to it, something I wouldn’t associate with panna cotta. At the same time, it reminded me of my homemade custard. After the overnight chilling time though, that tang disappeared, to me anyway. Perhaps being chilled overnight had given the flavours a chance to meld and mature. At any rate, the end result was still a truly scrumptious affair, dreamy, creamy, just the way it’s supposed to be.
I had a great time making the panna cotta, as I always do and needless to say, an even better time eating it! And it was so good for breakfast! I’m not entirely certain that the buttermilk created a different dessert but it was gorgeous still the same and I’m sure I’ll be using this recipe again.
Great challenge, Aimee, thanks! Can’t wait for next month’s!