You know how they always say that television is super healthy for your soul? They say that. Someone does. Well who cares who "someone" is? Readers, meet Television, my new BFFL.
And what, you might ask, am I watching? Well, given that I am uncool and often at least a year behind all of you hippy dippies, I'm on series one of The Great British Bake-Off, which is easily now my all-time favorite cooking-based competition show. Everyone on this show is so damned nice, and I'm amazed/worried over how emotionally attached I've become to every single contestant. Perhaps this says more about my current emotional state than it does about the quality of the show, but NO MATTER! You all need to be as obsessed as I am. This is the kind of show that could make a cold old soul like this one melt like buttah. I mean, there's a freaking seventeen year old who is owning the season so far, and I'm too busy rooting for her to jealously question my own life choices. The show's got HEART, people!
How was everyone's Halloween? We ended up, at the very last minute, deciding to go to a friend's party, which made me realize just how old I'm getting. I pretty much threw a tantrum at the thought of leaving the apartment after 8pm. Ten years ago I wouldn't have even let the house until close to midnight, and these days I'm griping to my boyfriend about going to a party. That someone was kind enough to invite us to join. I'm a terrible human.
Yup, that's correct, I pulled out the old three-minute Princess Leia costume and Jimmy decided to be... Luke Skywalker. And then, to prove to all the other guests that he was Luke, I present to you the above. Disturbing on all of the levels, yes. I never promised you a rose garden.
What can I promise you? Panna Cotta! Panna cotta is a sometimes annoying but mostly easy, quick dessert that, when done correctly, can impress your friends/best friends/television. I decided to add booze to mine, because what else would you expect from me?
Rum Stracciatella Panna Cotta (makes 3 to 4 servings)
lightly inspired by
1 cup of half and half
1 cup of heavy cream
1/4 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 packet of powdered gelatin (about 2 1/2 teaspoons)
3 tablespoons of water
2 to 3 tablespoons of dark rum, optional
handful of chocolate chips
Place water in a medium-sized bowl, then sprinkle gelatin evenly over water and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes.
In a medium saucepan, heat heavy cream, half and half and sugar until sugar is dissolved-- it needs to be hot, but do not let the mixture come to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and rum. Set aside.
Lightly oil ramekins, tumblers, tea cups, or whatever other heatproof container you'd like to use to serve these. I used all three because I wanted to figure out which would be prettiest, and also I used the tumbler because I was afraid my panna cotta wouldn't unmold. This is a trust circle guys. It's important to be honest.
Stir a handful of chocolate chips into your hot cream mixture and stir lightly just until the chocolate melts and leaves a lovely spotty, ribbony pattern. Pour this mixture over your gelatin, and stir until the gelatin completely dissolves. And I mean completely. The first time I made this I didn't realize my gelatin hadn't completely dissolved and I was left with a delicious but messy custardy thing that fell apart as soon as I tried to unmold. I was PISSED. Once it's completely dissolved, pour into your receptacles, and chill for 2 to 4 hours, until set.
Now you can totally leave these in your ramekins/tumblers if you'd like, but if you're looking to unmold them, run a very thin knife around the edge of your panna cotta, place a plate on top and invert.
No matter how you decide to eat these... oh em gee, ya'll. It's a wonder. Believe it or not, the rum does not overpower these and instead gives them a nice caramel-like finish. These are also pretty quick to prepare and make quite a nice treat for your party guests/self. I just had one for breakfast. Ok, no I didn't. I had two. I had two for breakfast. Like I said, circle of trust.