I made panna cotta for the first time a few months back. It was delicious. Also, I learned two things, the first of which is that it’s panna cotta and not pannacotta. Who knew?
The second thing was more interesting. I learned how brilliant it is working with leaf gelatine. If you’re a vegetarian or a vegan, apologies for what follows – and frankly, gelatine is the sort of thing that makes you want to be a vegetarian or a vegan in the first place. Anyway, leaf gelatine is completely fascinating. You bring it out of the packet and it’s crinkly and thin: it’s basically like money. It’s very hard to count out the number of sheets you need for a recipe without feeling like you’re a bank teller. Anyway, once you’ve counted it out you have to bloom it. You put it in a bowl of cold water for a few minutes. Then, if you’re me, you worry that you’ve left it too long, or not long enough, or that you’ve ruined it and you don’t have enough spares and now nobody will ever eat panna cotta ever again.
But when you reach into the bowl you’re like, Wow! What happened? What happened is that the crinkly, thin leaf gelatine has turned into a wonderfully rubbery, squeezy muddle of stuff. You gently press the water out of it and then you get on making panna cotta. This leaf gelatine will transform the cereal milk – thanks, Christina Tosi! – into wonderful wobbly domes of caramely goodness. You will place a spoon on top and the surface will hold and shimmer and bounce.
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