I don't even remember the first time I tasted it, it just that it seems I have always loved it. I don't normally buy the stuff because if it's in the pantry I feel feel this strong compulsion to eat it. On EVERYTHING. Or even with just a spoon! Give me some crepes with this stuff spread on the inside and a little vanilla bean ice cream or homemade whipped cream on top and I'm in heaven. I think I may have a problem. Is there a support group out there for people like me? Based on the comments I got on Facebook and yesterday's post I don't think I'm alone in my obsession.
So just what the heck did I make that required an entire jar of this heavenly nectar?
I had never made a panna cotta before, but they seemed simple enough. Heck, there were no yolks involved like a typical custard recipe, so it couldn't be too hard. And it wasn't! This was probably one of the easiest desserts I have ever made. You get a lot of bang for your buck with a panna cotta. It's the perfect 'do-ahead' dessert for a dinner party.
All I did was bloom a little gelatin, boil some vanilla and cream, mix the those together, pour it over a cup of nutella, whisk in a little more milk and then run it through a fine mesh sieve. (see recipe here) The recipe said it would take 3 hours to set, but mine was ready in about an hour and a half.
The hardest part was toasting the almonds for the garnish. I got a little distracted and forgot all about them...until I smelled something a little 'odd'. Yep, I burned the heck out of them.
Toasted Almonds Take 2:
Much more successful (and tasty).
This stuff was so good.
Incredibly sweet, maybe a little too sweet on its own, but the toasted almonds really provided a perfect balance. I was really impressed by the silk smooth texture. This stuff literally melts in your mouth.
This panna cotta is what JELLO pudding wants to be when it grows up.
Two things I will do differently the next time I make this... and yes, there will be a 'next time':
1. Figure out a way to make it a little less sweet. Maybe by adding a little extra dark chocolate or by making some homemade nutella first, using a recipe where I can control the amount of sugar in it.
2. Use a smaller container than the ramekins I chose. Seriously, a serving about half this size would have been perfect.
Despite these two 'flaws', I want you to notice that I ate the entire thing. All by myself.