Saffron Pannacotta, a smooth, velvety, creamy dessert with a beautiful golden hue and the spicy, pungent yet delicate taste of the saffron.
March has almost gone, and with it the unpredictable weather that so represents it. A roller coaster of temperatures and climate: bright and sunny days and absurdly hot temperatures are followed, without notice, by cloudy, grey and muggy cold air; azzurro skies seamlessly leave room to opaque ambience; rainy skies gives birth to beautiful rainbows. A wavering month, March, no longer winter, not yet fully spring. A painfully long, moody month, that's what it has been for me. A month good for waiting. For something to change. For me to go back to my love.
Unfortunately, and sadly, after only few days from another ferocious assault, innocent people in Pakistan have been murdered by the hands of coward aggressors that don't respect diversity, of thinking of race, of religion. Again, I find myself reflecting on what kind of world we live in, a world where you constantly feel menaced. Our response to that can only be to keep spreading love, acceptance, and inclusion, fighting the urge to respond to hate with hate.
I spent Easter days with my family in the Italian countryside; quiet, slow, simple, beautiful days where the time was dictated by visiting relatives and enjoying meals. How much we ate you can easily guess. Weather has been the typical March weather: magnificent blue, shiny skies on one day, rain, mist and dimness on another, but the food has been colorful, vibrant and so flavorful. And the time spent with my dear ones: parents, brother, grandfather, aunts, uncles, and cousins, priceless. Back to Rome for Pasquetta, Easter Monday, we wanted a different dessert, a much lighter, smooth on the palate, dessert. Perfect time to experience something new in the kitchen to bring to the table on a rainy overcast day, a golden, radiant Saffron Pannacotta. In an even lighter version, because I used lactose-free ingredients: vegetable panna (whipping cream), and lactose-free milk. And as the main, distinct flavor, an exquisite, crimson powdery saffron.
Making of the Pannacotta:
The milk turns into a lovely deep hue when you add the saffron. Stir and stir and let it melt and incorporate in the panna/milk mixture. Few minutes and your Pannacotta is ready to rest in the fridge for a few hours before you can enjoy it. I could have added any kind of sauce, chocolate, caramel, fruit, but it would have taken away from the Panna Cotta. A little crunch is what I thought would enhance the flavor and the overall experience of this Saffron Pannacotta. Three different toppings, chosen from what I like most: pistachios, almonds and dark chocolate. Each one a unique and delightful flavor. My favorite was the pistachio topping.
The pannacotta so smooth and creamy, the color lively, the flavor intense. Each spoonful a delight for the tastebuds due to the contrast of the velveteen and the brittle. A succesful dessert, highly enjoyed by everybody. If you can easily find the agar agar, substitute it to the gelatin sheets and you will have a vegan and gluten-free dessert. I am definitely going to make it again, playing with different toppings, and I am going to savor it with my husband when I go back home.
Hope you make it and enjoy it with your dear ones. And let me know what flavors you liked best.
Song of the day: Birdy, "Keeping Your Head Up".Print
- 250 g vegetable whipping cream
- 250 g lactose-free milk
- 75 g granulated sugar
- 0,1 g (1 package) powdered saffron
- 3 gelatin sheets (or 1 tsp agar agar)
- a handful of organic unsalted pistachios, grinded
- a handful of peeled almonds, grinded
- some dark chocolate, shaved
- Soak the gelatin in cold water for about 10 minutes.
- In a high-sided pan over medium/low heat, pour the whipping cream and milk with the sugar, mix well, and when warm, add the sheet gelatin that you have previously squeezed out.
- Bring to boil.
- Turn off the heat, add the powdered saffron and stir well to melt it.
- Put the pot back on to the heat for another 2-3 minutes, always stirring.
- Pour the cream into cups, shot glasses or jars and let rest in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
- When the Panna Cotta is set you can top it with your favorite toppings.
You can use agar agar in place of the gelatin. In that case, bring to boil the cream, milk, sugar and agar agar mix, all together.
Remember you will need about 4 hours in the fridge to set up.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 5 minutes
- Serving Size: 8 small servings
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I love baking and kneading dough because it takes me to a happy place in my soul.