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Vanilla Bean & Dulce de Leche Panna Cotta with Florentines…

February 27, 2011

Vanilla Bean & Dulce de Leche Panna Cotta with Florentines

Romantic comedies and I have a love/hate relationship.

You’re either A… Feeling sorry for yourself, so you go solo, thinking its gonna cheer you up to indulge in escapism and live vicariously through Reese Whitherspoon and What Ever That Guy’s Name Is.

That generally goes as badly as you kinda knew it would. You see Reese’s life is just as crappy as you perceive yours to be.

Only her’s gets turned around by Mr Perfect What Ever That Guy’s Name Is and yours just punches you in the face as you stumble out of a dark movie theatre.

Or B… You are truly as happy as ever, out on a date with your guy to a romantic movie and it. just. kills the mood. Bring on the comparisons.

“I wish life would turn out for me that way just once”

“Why doesn’t he do that for me?”

“And why isn’t he down on one knee right now?”

Why not? Because they are acting. They are actors and it’s not real and they are up there on the screen coz they get paid a lot of money so that sad and pathetic people can live vicariously through them. (Obviously not me…)

But seriously, we all have times when we get sad and pathetic about things. My advice? Just don’t let yourself go there. (I mean the sad and pathetic place, not the movie) They are acting. Your life is real. And it’s yours and it’s unique and it shouldn’t be determined by a stereotype.

Don’t get me wrong, stereotypical romance is nice sometimes, but it’s so much pressure. Don’t strangle your relationship with expectations. Take time to see the good instead of just the bad. And enjoy each other.

What does that have to do with Panna Cotta? Well, it is a romantic dessert… oh heck, I don’t know. But it is Daring Bakers and it is February. So a fitting topic.

Vanilla Bean & Dulce de Leche Panna Cotta with Florentines

We may all be in different minds when it comes to love, but Panna Cotta is something I’m sure we all agree on.

The February 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen. She chose to challenge everyone to make Panna Cotta from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and Nestle Florentine Cookies.

This is a seriously good Panna Cotta recipe. Truth. Thanks Mallory!

Note: due to my tweaking the dulce de leche part of the panna cotta is not unmoldable. Best served in a glass.

Vanilla Bean & Dulce de Leche Panna Cotta: (Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis via The Daring Kitchen)

  • 1 cup (240 ml) whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon (one packet) (15 ml) (7 gm) (¼ oz) unflavored powdered gelatin (My 1 tablespoon turned out to weigh 12 g but I used it to up the gelatin content.)
  • 3 cups (720 ml) whipping cream (30+% butterfat)
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) honey
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • seeds of 1 vanilla pod
  • 1 cup dulce de leche

Pour the milk into a bowl or pot and sprinkle gelatin evenly and thinly over the milk (make sure the bowl/pot is cold by placing the bowl/pot in the refrigerator for a few minutes before you start making the Panna Cotta). Let stand for 5 minutes to soften the gelatin.

Pour the milk into the saucepan/pot and place over medium heat on the stove. Heat this mixture until it is hot, but not boiling, about five minutes. (I whisk it a few times at this stage).

Next, add the cream, honey, sugar, and pinch of salt. Making sure the mixture doesn’t boil, continue to heat and stir occasionally until the sugar and honey have dissolved 5-7 minutes.

Take out 2 1/2 cups of the liquid and place in a medium bowl. Stir the vanilla seeds into this mixture and set aside.

Add dulce de leche to the remaining liquid and heat over low heat, stirring constantly until combined.

Remove from heat, allow it to sit for a few minutes to cool slightly.

You now have two parts that you can use to layer.

Allow the mixtures to cool slightly before pouring into glasses to prevent separation during chilling. Allow the first layer to set before pouring the second layer on top.

To get the tilted effect, place the glass, tilted, inside another glass, using it as a holder.

Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight. Add garnishes and serve.

Florentines: (Adapted from Nestle via The Daring Kitchen)

NB: Not gluten-free! due to the fact that I couldn’t find gluten-free oats.

  • 2/3 cup (160 ml) (150 gm) (5.3 oz) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups (480 ml) (160 gm) (5 2/3 oz) quick oats
  • 1 cup (240 ml) (230 gm) (8 oz) granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup (160 ml) (95 gm) (3⅓ oz) plain (all purpose) flour
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) dark corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) whole milk
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1½ cups (360 ml) (250 gm) (9 oz) dark or milk chocolate

Preheat oven to moderately hot 375°F (190°C) (gas mark 5). Prepare your baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan, then remove from the heat.

To the melted butter add oats, sugar, flour, corn syrup, milk, vanilla, and salt. Mix well. Drop a tablespoon full, three inches (75 mm) apart, onto your prepared baking sheet. Flatten slightly with the back of your tablespoon, or use a spatula.

Bake in preheated oven for 6-8 minutes, until cookies are golden brown. Cool completely on the baking sheets.

While the cookies are cooling melt your chocolate until smooth either in the microwave (1 1/2 minutes), or stovetop (in a double boiler, or a bowl that fits atop a saucepan filled with a bit of water, being sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl).

Peel the cookies from the silpat or parchment and place face down on a wire rack set over a sheet of wax/parchment paper (to keep counters clean).

Spread a tablespoon of chocolate on the bottom/flat side of your cookie, sandwiching another (flat end) cookie atop the chocolate.

This recipe will make about 2 1/2 – 3 dozen sandwiched Florentine cookies. You can also choose not to sandwich yours, in which case, drizzle the tops with chocolate (over your wax paper).

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. February 27, 2011 3:31 am

    I love the flavor combination and I love how you set it up on an angle. The little piece of cookie stuck in the glass is a nice touch, too.

    And, btw, I think you are totally dead on in your assessment of the perils of romantic movies. Hollywood really does set up some unrealistic expectations that mar our appreciation of our own loves.

  2. February 27, 2011 6:17 am

    Yum!!!

    You’ve just reminded me to put up my post!

    • chocswirl permalink*
      February 27, 2011 10:42 am

      glad to be of service :) I pre-scheduled mine coz I knew I’d forget.

  3. mom permalink
    February 27, 2011 11:59 am

    This was really very yummy. Cld definitly do with some more, well done Robs!

  4. February 28, 2011 2:27 pm

    Oh my effing eff that looks good!
    Robyn x

  5. March 1, 2011 9:33 am

    I love dulce de leche! Your panna cotta must have tasted heavenly!

  6. March 1, 2011 9:14 pm

    This looks to die for delicious, so pretty and perfect. x

  7. March 2, 2011 3:16 pm

    Oh be still my beating heart! You had me at dulce de leche. PS: I just love those serving glasses – so pretty.

  8. chocswirl permalink*
    March 2, 2011 11:17 pm

    Thanks for the wonderful comments guys! :) Dulce de Leche FTW.

  9. March 3, 2011 10:31 am

    Hello
    I had to read, if anything for your tilted effect which I plan to emulate!
    Would you bake for my next party?…I can only ask, right? ;)

    • chocswirl permalink*
      March 3, 2011 4:15 pm

      He he… I’m sure you do a great job at baking judging by the beautiful photos on ur blog! :)

  10. March 10, 2011 3:44 pm

    These look divine! Love the glasses too…

    • chocswirl permalink*
      March 10, 2011 9:37 pm

      Thanks Jeanne! I can’t resist spending most of my salary on food props. *sigh*

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