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« Fall Pizza Classes | Main | Stabilized Whipped Cream »
Tuesday
Oct222013

Amaretto and Vanilla Panna Cotta with Toasted Almonds

Panna Cotta is a popular Italian dessert that's very easy to make and is a great do-ahead dessert.  This version makes an elegant presentation because it uses two different flavors of panna cotta - Amaretto and vanilla.  The layering is very pretty and the flavors make a nice, lighter tasting dessert than my previous chocolate version. Although there is a time and place for chocolate, right?


You can omit the whipped cream topping, if you like

 

Panna cotta is different from pudding - it doesn't contain any eggs.  It's pretty versatile and you can really experiment and make just about any flavor you like. I really love vanilla and using a whole fresh vanilla bean is the way to go - order some juicy ones from Beanilla.  The Amaretto is a nice pairing with the vanilla. Since Amaretto is an almond flavored liquor, I topped the desserts with a few toasted chopped almonds.  Serve a nice little glass of Amaretto with these.

 

Amaretto and Vanilla Panna Cotta with Toasted Almonds

for a printable recipe, click here

The servings for this recipe will vary depending on your particular glass and the amount it holds.  I like to use my 4-ounce champagne flutes for a couple of reasons: they don't hold a lot so I can make a lot of these desserts, at least a dozen with this recipe.  Also, I think most people don't really want a huge dessert anyway.   If I used my larger glasses, as you can see in the second shot, I could only make about 8 desserts.  It just depends on what you want to do and how many guests you have.

It's important to sift the cocoa powder, to remove any little lumps.

I am using my stabilized whipped cream recipe in this post so you can make up the desserts ahead of time and the whipped cream will remain firm.  You can opt not to do this and use just regular whipped cream or even omit the whipped cream topping completely.

Ingredients:

for the Vanilla panna cotta:
¾ cup whole milk
2 teaspoons gelatine
2¼ cups heavy cream
1 whole vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped out
pinch of salt
¼ cup of sugar

for the Amaretto panna cotta:
¾ cup whole milk
2 teaspoons gelatine
2¼ cups heavy cream
pinch of salt
¼ cup of sugar
1 teaspoon cocoa powder, sifted
¼ cup Amaretto

topping:
1 teaspoon gelatine
4 teaspoons cold water
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
2 tablespoons Amaretto
2 tablespoons chopped almonds 


I buy my vanilla beans from Beanilla.  They have amazing, plump and moist
vanilla beans that will amaze you. They are worth it and add such flavor to your recipes 


Instructions:

make the Vanilla panna cotta:

Put the milk in a medium saucepan and sprinkle the gelatine over the milk.  Let it stand for about 5 minutes to soften.  Turn heat to medium and stir milk just until the gelatine dissolves. 

Add the cream, sugar and salt.  Whisk in the vanilla seeds and pod.  Whisk over low heat until the sugar completely dissolves, just a few minutes. 

Remove from the heat, remove the vanilla pod and let cool completely.  (I pour the mixture into a 4 or 6-cup Pyrex to cool.)  Stir mixture frequently during cooling to prevent skin from forming.

Pour mixture into your glasses, just halfway up.  A little funnel makes this easier, if you are using narrow glasses. Place on a tray or rimmed baking pan and place in the refrigerator to completely set. 

 

 

make the Amaretto panna cotta:

Put the milk in a medium saucepan and sprinkle the gelatine over the milk.  Let it stand for about 5 minutes to soften.  Turn heat to medium and stir milk just until the gelatine dissolves. 

Add the cream, sugar and salt.  Whisk in the cocoa powder.  Whisk over low heat until the sugar completely dissolves, just a few minutes. 

Remove from the heat, stir in the Amaretto and let cool completely.  (I pour the mixture into a 4 or 6-cup Pyrex to cool.)  Stir mixture frequently during cooling to prevent skin from forming.

After the Vanilla panna cottas have completely set (it won't take long if you use small glasses, usually less than an hour), remove from the fridge and pour the Amaretto mixture on top.  Return to fridge to completely set.

 


take a sharp paring knife and split the vanilla bean
and scrape out the seeds

 

make the topping:

In a small pan, combine gelatine and cold water; let stand until thick.  Place over low heat, stirring constantly, just until the gelatine dissolves.  Remove from heat; cool (do not allow it to set).  Whip the cream with the confectioner's sugar, until slightly thick. While slowly beating, add the gelatine to whipping cream. Add the amaretto and whip at high speed until stiff. 

In a dry small fry pan over medium high heat, toast the almonds for a few minutes just until golden and fragrant. Cool. 

Pipe the whipped cream on top of the panna cotta after it has completely set and garnish with the toasted almonds.

These panna cotta desserts last for a few days in the refrigerator.   

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Reader Comments (12)

Love this site & this recipe! May I ask, where did you get your champagne flutes and the other glass?

October 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBeth

I always think pan cotta looks pretty uninspiring, but you've made it look very sophisticated and tempting. I really must try this with a veggie style gelatin.

October 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJacqueline

Beth, you can find the small tasting glasses, as pictured, at Pier One. You can use them for so many other things too, I love them. I last used them for an apple crisp recipe topped with cinnamon cream. They were a big hit!

October 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCherie

What a great dessert, especially for a dinner party.

October 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJovina Coughlin

What type of gelatine do you recommend using? Regular old Knox brand??

October 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPetra H

From The Italian Dish:

Beth: I got the flutes at Crate and Barrel a long time ago - I don't think they carry that exact glass anymore. The larger glasses I think were Bormioli.

Petra: I use just regular Knox gelatine.

October 22, 2013 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

What a great alternative to panna cotta in a single flavour. Fabulous.

October 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLynda

I don't have those beautiful vanilla beans but I sure would love to make an all amaretto one for sure!

October 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMarie

Elaine, these are so pretty and look so elegant. I am sure they are delicious!

October 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie M

These look so nice, will definitely be trying them. Thanks for sharing

October 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterThe Twilight Chef

I just bought a beautiful bottle of Amaretto, so am excited to try this recipe! I do have a question though. The topping ingredients call for 2 T. amaretto, yet I can't see in the instructions where it is used. Is it the 1 oz. shot you drink with the dessert?

Thank you!!

November 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

From The Italian Dish:

Michelle: Oops! Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I fixed it. You add the amaretto when you whip the cream.

November 22, 2013 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

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