My First Panna Cotta

To celebrate Francesca Schiavone making it to the Roland Garros Final, i decided to make myself a themed week-end with Italian cooking. But i also wanted to try new things out, and Panna Cotta was on my "to do" list for a while.

Unfortunately Franny lost her final, but i still got to enjoy some homemade pasta with a mint pesto. I'm not quite happy with the mint pesto recipe yet, so that will wait for an other try to be posted here. The Panna Cotta worked out much better.

As you may know, i love to bake, so when i read the recipe of the Panna Cotta, i thought "and that's it???", but the italians know how to make the simplest things into something lovely, and this recipe won't be an exception.

Now for the topping, i'm actually on a budget these days, so i tried to come up with something "from the pantry". Apples are always around in my house, matching those with cinnamon is never wrong, and for a bit of crunch some biscuits and nuts.

Panna Cotta with Crunchy Cinnamon Apple Topping

For 6 small glasses or 3 big ones

25cl of Cream
25cl of Milk
2 Tablespoon of Sugar
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla
3 Gelatin Sheets
2 Apples
1/2 Glass of Water
2 Teaspoon of Cinnamon
2 Tablespoon of Golden Dried Raisins
2 Tablespoon of Honey
2 Teaspoon of Lemon Juice
4 Digestive Biscuits
2 Tablespoon of Chopped Almonds

You have to make the Panna Cotta the day before, or in the morning for the evening.

Put the 3 gelatin sheets in cold water to softened them, for about 5 minutes.
Pour the cream and milk in a pan, add the sugar and the vanilla, put a soft flam under it to heat it up, be carefull not to let it boil. When it's hot, add the gelatin sheets that you have pressed in your hand to remove the excess of water. Keep stiring for about 3-4 minutes, then pour the mixture into its container.

Let it cool outside for about an hour, before putting it in the fridge for about 8 hours. It looked very liquid to me, but don't worry it will set.

For the topping, peel the apple and cut them into cubes. In a pan, put the water, the apples, the raisins and the cinnamon, and let it bubble for about 15 minutes with the lid on, so the apples get soft and flavoured. Add the honey and the lemon juice, let it reduce, lid off this time, for about 10 minutes, or until you have very little liquid left. Set aside, and let it cool.

Put the digestive biscuits, such as Graham Cracker or Petit Lu, in a towel or a freezing bag to crush them into little pieces. I used Bolacha Maria to give it a portuguese touch ;) In a pan with no fat, put the chopped almond and let them color to a light brown shade, and mix them with the crushed biscuits.

Before serving, take the Panna Cotta out of the fridge, put the reduce cinnamon apples on top of it, and sprinkle the nuts/biscuits on top. As said, this is yet an other proof that italians know how to enjoy life!

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