Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Saffron and Cardamom Panna Cotta


Winters in Russia are really, really cold. And snowy. And dark. All shots below were taken "in broad daylight," in the middle of the day in January. That's the thing that always gets me down in winter: not the cold or the snow, but the constant twilight. Bright, white sunny days also happen but they are rare.


On a day like this (or any other day if you ask me) this saffron and cardamom panna cotta will be perfect. On a day like this, you want to eat the food that requires a spoon. Not so much a fork.



Cardamom and saffron are two of my favorite spices (see my Cinnamon and Cardamom Rolls and Upside Down Plum Cake). They are sunny and exotic yet homey. I found the saffron panna cotta recipe in Alice Medrich's book Pure Dessert and knew immediately: this is it. The recipe is very forgiving; you can vary the spices and even the milk-to-cream ratio to suit your taste.






Cardamom and Saffron Panna Cotta

Serves 6

3 3/4 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cardamom
1/8 teaspoon saffron, rubbed between fingers
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup milk
2 1/2 teaspoons powdered gelatin
chopped pistachios (if desired)

Six 6-oz cups or ramekins

In a small saucepan, combine cream, sugar, salt and spices. Heat until nearly boiling. Remove from heat, cover and let steep half an hour.

In the meantime, pour cold milk into a small bowl and sprinkle gelatin on top. Let stand about 5 minutes (do not stir).

Combine milk and cream and heat again until close to boiling. Make sure the gelatin is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool to lukewarm, stirring occasionally. Transfer to ramekins, cover with plastic and refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours.

Serve in ramekins or invert onto plates. To do this, place ramekins in hot water for a couple of seconds to loosen.

Decorate with saffron threads and chopped pistachios if desired.


19 comments:

  1. These photos are beautiful. I know winter is often dreary, but you make it look so peaceful and magical in these photos!

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    1. Thank you. You are right, there IS magic to winter... One just needs to be willing to be open to it :).

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  2. The overhead shots of the beautiful little green pots are amazing, they make me want to dig a spoon right in!

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    1. I actually bright those green pots from Russia. There is a French yogurt brand that is sold in supermarkets in these pots.

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  3. I'm a sucker for those spices, so I think I might give this recipe a go. Never thought to put saffron in panna cotta before.

    And your photos are gorgeous!

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    1. Thank you Melissa. Our neighborhood Indian restaurant here in Houston serves this rice and cream dessert spiced with saffron and cardamom. And I always wished they wouldn't put rice in it :). So this panna cotta is exactly it.

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  4. I'm from Poland so our winters are pretty much the same when it comes to the light (or I should say lack of it) :) I love your photos so much :)

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  5. I just loved this recipe. Beautiful pictures and detailed recipe makes all your posts so special!
    http://cosmopolitancurrymania.blogspot.in/

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  6. Oh it all looks soo cold .. especially for me sitting in sunny India.. but your photographs are beautiful!! Love the flavours of the panna cotta..with those flavours this could be an Indian dessert!! Lovely!! :)

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    1. That's exactly right: it reminds me of an Indian dessert with rice and these spices. The best part is that there is no rice :))

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  7. Such excellent photos and I love the close shot of the dried leaves with ice on it!

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  8. Beautiful presentation in green pots! Also love the photos of the winter and the church against a gloomy and clouded sky! What city in Russia is it?

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  9. I looked at the complete blog. Awesome recipes! Beautiful images! Best regards from Serbia.

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  10. looks delicious
    and your photos are gorgeous

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  11. Спасибо Огромное за рецепт! обязательно попробую на этих выходных!!

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  12. Спасибо Огромное за рецепт! обязательно попробую на этих выходных!!

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