Chocolate Panna Cotta With Espresso Cream


Panna Cotta is Italian for “cooked cream” and is an eggless type of custard that is thickened with gelatin. I love panna cotta which is light, creamy and delicate, making it the perfect choice when entertaining after you have already consumed a couple of courses. When I entertain, I feel need to have just a little something sweet to finish off the meal and I often serve some variety of panna cotta. I was recently entertaining and wanted to make panna cotta once again but couldn’t decide on whether I should flavor it with chocolate or coffee. Now I love mocha flavor myself so in the end I compromised and made the bottom half of my panna cotta with dark chocolate, and then topped this chocolate layer with an espresso cream layer that I whipped up to resemble a delicious cappuccino.

I prepared the dessert in clear glass tumblers so you could appreciate the separate layers, and used a simple twist of sweetened whip cream and a sprinkle of grated dark chocolate to serve. I used a bitter dark chocolate but you could use whatever chocolate you prefer, just adjust the sugar as needed as you do not want it overly sweet. For the espresso, I used an entire single serving of Starbuck’s new instant Italian espresso roast but you could use any instant coffee you have on hand. Just add 1 teaspoon at a time until you get a light coffee flavor as you do not want the coffee flavor to overpower the chocolate. I was very happy with the flavor combination and will certainly be making this particular panna cotta again!

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2011

Chocolate Panna Cotta With Espresso Cream

Panna Cotta is Italian for “cooked cream” and is an eggless type of custard that is thickened with gelatin.

Ingredients:

For The Dark Chocolate Layer:

  • 1/2 Cup Milk
  • 1 Teaspoon Plain Gelatin
  • 1 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 2 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar (Adjust As Needed)
  • 3 Ounces Dark Bitter Chocolate

For The Cappuccino Layer:

  • 1/2 Cup Milk
  • 1 1/4 Teaspoon Plain Gelatin
  • 1 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 3 Tablespoons Sugar (Adjust To Your Taste)
  • 2-3 Teaspoons Instant Coffee (Adjust As Needed ~ See Above)

To Garnish:

  • Sweetened Whipped Cream
  • Shaved Chocolate

Directions:

  1. For the chocolate layer, place the gelatin in a small bowl with the milk and stir to soften the gelatin.
  2. In a small saucepan heat the cream with two tablespoons of sugar until simmering, then break up the chocolate and stir until melted into the cream.
  3. Whisk the softened gelatin and milk into the chocolate mixture until smooth, and pour this chocolate layer into four (4 ounce) glass tumblers and refrigerate until firm.
  4. For the cappuccino layer, soften the gelatin once again in the milk.
  5. In a saucepan add the cream, half the sugar, and 2 teaspoons of the coffee and heat until simmering.
  6. Taste, and add additional coffee powder or sugar as needed.
  7. Remove from the heat and use a hand mixer or immersion blender to beat the coffee mixture until it is very foamy.
  8. Pour evenly over the top of the chocolate layer in each of the tumblers, spooning on the foam at the bottom of the pot on top to resemble a cappuccino drink.
  9. Return to the refrigerator and cool until firm.
  10. To serve use a star tip on a piping bag, or a small spoon to add a dollop of the whipped cream to each panna cotta and then sprinkle with some shaved chocolate on top.
  11. Serve immediately.