I seem to be on a panna cotta kick lately. I’ve noticed that chocolate desserts on restaurant menus have been taking second place over their milky counterparts. I suspect it was a taste of my parents’ maja blanca recently that awakened my desire for some subtle, silky, milky flavor. Maja blanca, a traditional filipino dessert, is made with coconut milk, corn and topped with latik (la-tik), fried coconut milk curd. When it sets, the maja blanca has a texture very similar to panna cotta and has a subtleness in flavor that I enjoy a lot. In fact, maja blanca is one of the few filipino desserts that I actually like since it is not overly sweet. And since I have yet to tackle this old favorite, I opted to make panna cotta instead.
Nearly a quart of leftover buttermilk encouraged me to try a lighter panna cotta this time around. A quick Google search yielded several recipes that promised a refreshing treat so I was sold. Panna cotta is appealing as is but if used as a blank canvas, it is perfectly adaptable to different flavors. The original recipe suggested adding a bit of Anisette or Pernod for a more sophisticated touch (and of course, some anise flavor) but I chose to concentrate on citrus flavors to highlight the tanginess of the buttermilk. Adding some sweetness, the blueberry sauce seemed just the perfect accompaniment.
Please note that if you are more accustomed to the mellow flavor of a traditional panna cotta, you will be surprised by the bright tang that hits your taste buds. Initially, all I detected was the buttermilk but a few more bites revealed the citrus freshness of the meyer lemon zest (You can see the yellow flecks in the second photo). The verdict? This is a nice variation on the traditional panna cotta. Craving satisfied.
By the way, this is my 100th post, yippee! How time flies! In just a couple of months I’ll be celebrating one year of sharing recipes and bits of my life with you. Thanks for continuing to come back to join me. It’s made for a truly fabulous last 10 months. :-)
Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Blueberry Sauce
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 teaspoons (7 grams) unflavored gelatin (I used 10 grams for a firmer custard)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 4 ounces sugar (1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon) (I used slightly less than 1/2 cup, about 3.2 ounces)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon and/or 1 tablespoon orange juice concentrate (I didn’t have orange juice concentrate but I did have an old can of passion/guava/orange juice concentrate so I used that. Don’t judge. Returning from Hawaii always has me craving guava juice so I buy the canned stuff then never use it. It worked great in this recipe)
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Anisette or Pernod, to taste (optional; I bought a bottle but decided to skip it in this recipe)
For the sauce:
- 1/2 cup apple juice (Since I already had a can of the tropical juice concentrate, I used that)
- 1/4 cup sugar (I used slightly less)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 cups blueberries
Stir gelatin into milk. Let sit for at least five minutes before using.
Heat the cream, sugar, salt and lemon zest/orange juice concentrate in a small saucepan over low heat; stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the gelatin-milk mixture and continue to heat. Stir the mixture constantly and don’t let it come up to a simmer. Take the pan off the heat and pour into a large bowl. Let the cream cool for a few minutes.
Add the buttermilk and vanilla extract. Pour the mixture into six glasses or 3/4 cup ramekins (My ramekins were a bit larger so I had 5 servings). Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours or until set. See the link above for much more detailed instructions.
For the sauce, bring the juice, sugar and lemon juice to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves then lower heat slightly. Add the blueberries and cook for about 8 minutes or until the berries begin to pop. Cool to room temperature and serve with the chilled panna cotta.