I had some left over buttermilk in the fridge this morning. That always happens to me. Most recipes call for 1 cup, but I can only ever find 500mL containers in our store. I hate to waste food (there’s that hippie talkin’ again), so I have to find useful ways of using it up. I thought of making a huge batch of buttermilk ranch, but then I would have just eaten the whole batch with a bag of baby carrots and called it a day. On second thought, why not try something new and different. I always love to try new things, challenge the “chef” in me.
Ever since I stopped working the lines of restaurants and catering outfits, I’ve been a little sad about my access to great recipes, methods and ingredients. When you work in an industrial kitchen, there’s no stopping the creativity of a young, creative cook rummaging through tens of thousands of dollars worth of ingredients. I miss that, I really do. I don’t, on the other hand, miss the stress, late nights, sweat, tears and angry Executive Chefs.
Anyway, let’s get on with the recipe, shall we? It’s quite simple to make, and I can almost guarantee you won’t screw it up.
Buttermilk Panna Cotta
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp. Gelatin
1 cup half and half (or cream if you prefer)
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup Buttermilk
1 vanilla pod
1. Pour water into large bowl, sprinkle gelatin on top. Let stand 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, combine cream and sugar in heavy bottomed saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved, but do not let it boil. Remove from heat.
3. Scrape seeds from vanilla pod and add both seeds and pod to cream and sugar mix. Pour over gelatin and stir until smooth. Let stand 30 minutes.
4. Remove vanilla pod and discard.
5. Stir buttermilk into cream and sugar mixture. Pour through sieve into 4 cup measure. Divide among 4 oiled (use taste neutral oil) custard cups. Refrigerate until set. At least 4 hours, but preferrably more. You can even set them overnight.
Now, when you turn the Panna Cotta out, it may be stuck. I read a tip somehwere that said to let the cups sit in very hot water for 1 minute. Then turn the cups out onto the plate and jiggle both at the same time to remove the panna cotta. Well, let’s just say some of it got stuck still. Not everyone’s perfect. But that’s okay! You can cover it in this delicious mango puree! It will cover all your mistakes, and tastes delicious!
1 Mango, cut into cubes
Juice of 1/2 a lime
1. Puree the mango and lime juice together. Serve over Panna Cotta.