I love Master Chef Australia. I have been watching the show for years and it has taught me so much about cooking. So many techniques, I watched on MCA for the first time. Though I love experimenting in kitchen, I have never once tried to recreate those recipes. When Valli announced it as a theme this month, I chose it immediately because I know I would love it. Usually I get ready with recipes during the previous month itself, but last month being hectic, I didn’t make anything for this month. So I will be recreating the dishes and blogging on the same day. May be a little prep the previous day. Pressure test is one of the best episodes you can watch in MCA. The contestants have to recreate one or more dishes made by a celebrity chef. During season 8, there was one such pressure test and my favourite Nigella made a three course meal for it. No, I am not going to recreate everything, but I am going to make only the dessert, coffee pannacotta. In so many episodes, panna cotta has been one dish to make or break the contestant. Some turn out perfect and some doesn’t even set and that is such a nail biting moment. I thought making panna cotta would be a perfect start to the theme.
Panna Cotta literally means cooked cream in Italian and it is made by setting sweetened cream with gelatin. The final dish should not be rubbery and should be jiggly. I usually don’t work with gelatin, except for making fondant at home. So nailing the recipe is indeed a pressure test for me. The original recipe uses gelatin sheets whereas I have only powdered gelatin. So before attempting I did some reading and some calculations on how much gelatin to use as well as the perfect method of using it in dishes. Once everything was done, I placed the moulds in fridge and kept my fingers crossed. Even after an hour it didn’t start setting and I thought the dish was a flop. But then I checked it again while going to bed and it has started setting at the sides. I was really glad that the gelatin was working and now I am not even sure how they do it easily in MCA. I made the chocolate sauce in the morning and did the final presentation. I was doing this for myself, so used 99%dark chocolate with some sugar substitute and thick coffee decoction instead of coffee liqueur. So the sauce was not glossy and perfect but it added a nice bitter note to the panna cotta. But using a good quality chocolate and cream would make the sauce so yum. When the panna cotta came out of the mould ( it took some time and increased my BP further), it was soft, silky and jiggly and perfectly set. Hooray!
Makes 4 Panna Cotta
Amul Cream – 250 ml
Milk – 250 ml
Sugar – 3-4 tbs
Instant Coffee Powder – 2 tsp
Gelatin – 1 tbs
For The Sauce:
Chocolate – 25 gm
Amul Cream – 50 ml
Instant Coffee Powder – 1 tsp
In a pan add milk and sprinkle gelatin on top.
Allow it to bloom for 10 minutes.
Gently heat the milk, never bringing it to boil.
Remove from the flame and let the gelatin melt on residual heat. Do not bring milk to boil at any stage and don’t keep it on simmer unattended. Keep stirring the mixture.
The gelatin will dissolve in the hot milk.
Add sugar, coffee powder and cream to the hot milk and place it on medium flame.
Once the mix is hot and all the ingredients are dissolved completely, remove it from flame.
Lightly grease the moulds and keep them ready.
Pour the mixture through a sieve into the moulds.
Allow it to come to room temperature.
Cover them with foil and refrigerate them overnight.
Heat cream and pour it on chopped chocolate.
Add coffee powder and whisk until the sauce is smooth.
Remove the set panna cotta from fridge, place it in a warm water bath for a minute or two.
Gently run a knife around the top of the panna cotta to release it from the mould.
Flip it onto a serving plate and remove the mould.
Pour the sauce around the panna cotta and serve immediately.