Tri-Colore of Panna Cotta in Mint, Vanilla & Grenadine
Oh, is there no end to my patriotism?!! If you people only knew how little I care for soccer! But at the same time, it is hard to remain completely immune when it is the big day, the final of the European Soccer Cup of 2012 and Italy are playing against Spain! It's time to just smile and go with the flow :-) and to come up with a couple more red, white and green themed dishes to keep everyone happy and smiling!
This little blast of color here, is that delicious Italian favorite "panna cotta"- which I flavored in 3 different ways and layered up to create a very rough version of the Italian flag. The name itself, translates to mean, quite simply, "boiled cream"- and that more or less is exactly what it is. That and some kind of aroma and a little gelatin and sugar in the classic version in any case. But just like good ol' Frank Sinatra... "I did it my way" ;-).
The basic method to making panna cotta, is to gently bring the cream to the boil, add sugar and usually vanilla, a little lemon zest, and then remove it from the heat and carefully stir in the gelatin until it is dissolved and well-mixed, and then to leave it to set in the refrigerator. For this version, I decided to use instant gelatin powder, which can be used cold. The reason being, that I would otherwise have had to gone through the procedure of boiling the cream, adding the flavorings and waiting for each layer to set over the course of the whole day. Uh-uh! No time for that! Some "convenience products" are just... convenient!
So in the first layer of cream, I added mint syrup... you know- the kind that they drink diluted with water, in Italy in the summer months. Simply add the syrup to your own taste- it is not for everyone- but I just happen to love it!
The second layer was flavored with vanilla essence- I have one which is made of ground whole vanilla pods and I find it perfectly wonderful for this kind of thing.
The final layer was seasoned with grenadine syrup- we do love our pomegranates in Italy!
And the whole thing was sweetened using Stevia- to keep it lighter and healthier without you even knowing it! The combination of these three ingredients is not simply colorful and fun- it is also wonderfully refreshing and simply delicious! I hope you will give it a try!