You don’t know this about me (but you’ve probably guessed), but I love to entertain. We didn’t do it much growing up, but as soon as I got to college my roommates and I, with our neighbors, would have weekly dinners in a potluck sort of fashion. Since then I have always loved welcoming friends and family into my home for a meal. So I’m always looking for new ideas to roll out when we have company. I love a dessert that I can make ahead and serve as an individual portion and this coffee panna cotta is perfect. It saves me time and keeps me from having to run around and serve folks, which means more time for conversation and laughs.
I’ve been wanting to do a panna cotta style dessert for a while. Truth be told, this is somewhere between a budino and a panna cotta because it does have egg yolks in it for richness. A panna cotta is basically just sweetened cream set with gelatin and a budino is closer to a pudding. The marriage of these two desserts turned out, honestly, better than I hoped for. I love coffee and chocolate together and when you enjoy the whole coffee panna cotta it seriously reminded me of like a mud pie ice cream sundae. This was just one of those desserts that I loved everything about and wouldn’t change anything! That seriously never happens in our household. I’m constantly tweaking a recipe until I die, basically. Not this time. This was everything I wanted it to be and more and I hope you’ll enjoy making it for your loved ones as much as I did. Happy cooking!
Products I used in this recipe:
This is such an elegant individual dessert, but so easy to make!
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups half & half
- 2 tablespoons espresso powder
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 1 packet gelatin powder
- 2 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Mascarpone Whipped Cream
- 1/2 cup cold heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons mascarpone, at room temp
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- To make the panna cotta: combine the heavy cream, half & half, vanilla bean paste and espresso powder in a medium saucepan over low heat and bring to a gentle simmer. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and both sugars until pale in color. In another small bowl, pour the packet of gelatin over 1/4 cup cold water and allow to sit. While whisking the eggs, pour some of the warm heavy cream mixture to bring the eggs up to a working temperature. Continue to whisk more of the warm cream into the eggs until the sugar is dissolved. While whisking, whisk the egg mixture back into the heavy cream on the stove. Cook over medium heat while whisking constantly until the mixture has just thickened slightly. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine mesh strainer into a large measuring cup. Whisk in the bloomed gelatin until smooth. Pour into individual cups or ramekins (mine were 7oz cups) leaving a little room at the top for the ganache. Chill for 4 hours or overnight.
- To make the ganache: add the chocolate and heavy cream to a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk until the chocolate is melted and warm. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter, vanilla and salt. Allow to cool slightly. Transfer to a piping bag or a heavy duty ziplock bag and cut a small hole in the tip or corner. Top each panna cotta with a layer of ganache and return to the fridge for 10 minutes to set.
- To make the mascarpone whipped cream: In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the cream vigorously until slightly thickened. Add the mascarpone, powdered sugar and vanilla and whisk until soft peaks form. Top the panna cottas with whipped cream and serve.