November 30, 2021
by Abby Morrison
Panna cotta is an Italian dessert made by adding gelatin to cream and sugar. Like many cream-based desserts, it’s a flexible choice that can pair well with almost any flavor--including savory ones!
For this recipe, we’ll be pairing it with the ultimate winter flavor: Peppermint
. We’ll start with the basics and then move on to some tips for how to make it your own.
To begin, heat one cup of 2% milk over medium-low heat. Be careful not to let it boil or scald. If it starts to steam, it’s getting too hot. Once it’s warm, add your Peppermint. Let it steep for five minutes overheat, then transfer it to the fridge.
Once it’s cool, sieve out the tea and then sprinkle your gelatin over the top. Let it sit for about five minutes or until the powder looks wet and semi-dissolved. Put the milk back over heat and stir until the gelatin is dissolved, again being careful not to overheat it. Add your sugar, then stir until it’s dissolved.
Add your half and half and a pinch of salt. Whisk thoroughly, then pour into your ramekins. Put in the fridge to cool until set, then garnish with crumbled chocolate sandwich cookies, mint, and chocolate sauce to taste. Your panna cotta is now complete.
Author's Tips and Tricks
Panna Cotta recipes vary widely, which means you can customize anything from the dairy products you use to the ratios of the ingredients, how minty you make them, and more. There are a few general guidelines that can help you on your creative journey, though. Here are a few to get you started.
If you’d like to swap out one dairy product for another or adjust the ratios between them, feel free, just as long as the total volume (three cups) stays the same. Higher fat dairy products like creams will make the dessert richer in texture and flavor, but will also make it heavier and less healthy.
For sugar, you can go from as low as ¼ cup to as high as ¾ cup or more, but again, remember that balance is key. Keep your other flavors in mind, including both your mint and any garnishes you want to add later!
Peppermint is one of the stronger mints available. Increasing your mint will add briskness, but adding too much will make your dish taste like toothpaste!
As always, start slow and add from there. You can always add more flavor to your dish. You can’t always take it out!
If you’d like to make a vegetarian version of this recipe, you can swap out agar-agar for the gelatin. Agar is a vegan alternative to gelatin that’s made from algae. You can almost always swap it out for gelatin, but do be aware that the two products “bloom” differently, which means what activates their gelling properties and what kinds of heat they can handle is different for each. Make sure to take this into consideration when preparing your recipe.
Since Panna Cottas will mold to whatever dish they’re put in, feel free to get playful! You can tilt your glass for an angled look, play with layers, or even use molds to create unique shapes! Just make sure that you can remove the panna cotta from the mold! If using a ramekin, very lightly grease it before adding your mixture. Then, make sure to heat the sides of the glass slightly with warm water before unmolding. If using a silicone mold, you don’t need to grease it, but you will want to heat the sides.
We looked at several recipes before creating ours, but one that was particularly helpful was this one from the Kitchn
. It has the foundation of the recipe we ended up using, as well as tips for troubleshooting, unmolding, and plating.
Peppermint Panna Cotta Recipe
This recipe adds the brisk flavor of peppermint and the rich depth of chocolate to the classic Panna Cotta. Garnish with mint, chocolate, and chocolate sandwich cookies for the perfect winter dessert.
Makes: Six 4 oz. ramekins
Time to make: 60 min, plus time to chill
4 tsp Peppermint
1 cup 2% milk
2 cups half and half
¼ cup sugar
3 tsp gelatin
Chocolate sandwich cookies (crushed, optional)
Chocolate sauce (optional)
Very lightly grease the ramekins.
Heat milk over medium-low heat. Do not boil or scald. Add Peppermint and let steep for five minutes.
Put the milk in the fridge until cool. Once cool, sieve out the tea.
Sprinkle the gelatin over the milk and let sit for five minutes to bloom. Powder should look wet and wrinkled.
Heat the milk over medium-low heat to dissolve gelatin. Once dissolved, add sugar and stir until sugar is also dissolved.
Whisk in half and half and pinch of salt.
Pour mixture into ramekins.
Put in fridge to set for two hours. If using silicone molds, chill overnight.
Enjoy as is or garnished with chocolate sandwich cookies, fresh mint, and chocolate.
Peppermint is December's TeaChef recipe competition
! Head over there to submit your own creations to potentially win a $50 gift card to Adagio!