Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Daring Bakers make panna cotta and florentines

Pistachio marzipan panna cotta with florentines
Who needs an excuse to make panna cotta? The Daring Bakers, I guess! I don't why I don't make it more often: it's simple, delicious, and impressive enough that it looks like you were slaving over it, when in fact the fridge did most of the work. I made a number of variations this month, and I love when a challenge inspires me to eat nothing but pudding for a month. It's a good thing the canal is still open and I can skate it off!
Pistachio Dome
I never got the challenge florentines made, as I decided to go with a more traditional (I think), recipe using almonds and candied orange peel. This was great as I made a big jar of candied orange peel in December and it was taking up precious space in my fridge.  I found this recipe here, and quite enjoyed these confections. They're more like a candy than a cookie, meaning rich and delicious. 
Ginger-vanilla panna cotta with blood orange gelee
I have belatedly realized that I haven't written down any of my recipes for this month. I really need to measure and write things down when I'm in the kitchen rather than assume I'll remember weeks later. I did not use the challenge panna cotta recipe either, as I knew it'd be too rich for me. The first panna cotta I made, during a gray and cloudy week, was ginger-vanilla with a blood orange gelee. I adapted the recipe from the panna cotta plus gelee I had posted just a couple of days before the challenge was announced. I omitted the Amaretto and steeped some freshly chopped ginger in the cream/milk mixture.
Coconut panna cotta with tangerine, blood orange and cardamom granita
Next, I combined a recipe I was testing with one of my own. I was testing the granita above (which was lovely) and decided to make a panna cotta to serve it on, just for kicks. Inspired by some beautiful coconut panna cottas in the Daring Kitchen forum, I set out to create my own lighter version. I love coconut milk, but again, I didn't want it to be too rich. So, I combined it with milk and Cointreau and I really enjoyed the results. You can find the coconut panna cotta recipe here and the granita recipe here.
I love this green
The pistachio marzipan panna cotta was my absolute favourite. I had some leftover homemade pistachio marzipan from these amazing brownies, so I combined it with some milk and a bit of cream to make a soft, slightly textured and very pistachio panna cotta. I am really kicking myself for not writing this one down, as it was outstanding. That said, I doubt I'll be blanching and peeling any more pistachios to make more marzipan, so it might just have to be a happy memory. I think I already whined about that job in the brownie post so I'll stop now. If I do have a burst of enthusiasm, you'll be the first to know.

Thanks so much to Mallory of a sofa in the kitchen for the great challenge idea. Be sure to check out the Daring Kitchen homepage to see a slide show of some stunning creations. Here's the challenge PDF, complete with recipes and helpful links. 

Blog-checking lines: The February 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen. She chose to challenge everyone to make Panna Cotta from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and Nestle Florentine Cookies.

35 comments:

Ruth H. said...

Mary, you are a wonder! What an amazing variety of panna cotta you created! I really wish I lived next door to you so I could be a taste tester for you... ;) Thank you so much for sharing these great desserts. I can't wait to see what you come up with next month!

ck said...

Wow. You have outdone yourself with these beauties! They all look so good and what I wouldn't do to try the pistachio marzipan one. What a brilliant cooking mind you have. I am impressed and while I feel mine was pretty ordinary in comparison, you have given me something to aspire to. Well done Mary.

Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

I agree - it is an impressive dessert. I should make it more often too. You've done a lovely job!

Renata said...

Mary, I'm impressed with the many variations you've created from the very first moment of the challenge throughout the month. You came up with the most appealing flavors and all your Panna Cottas look divine! Hats off to you! Thanks for sharing the lighter version of the coconut Panna Cotta. This is a lesson that I have learned from this challenge.

Audax said...

I love your first photography I adore the idea of a panna cotta and Florentine cookies high tea it looks so delicious.

And so many versions also bravo bravo bravo a smashing result (as always).

Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

Poires au Chocolat said...

These flavours are stunning! Particularly love the pistachio ones, I'll have to try that. And coconut, I'm on such a coconut binge at the moment. Pairing with a granita is a great idea too. Well done!

Cakelaw said...

Your panna cotta all look beautiful, but I totally am in love with the sound of the ginger vanilla one - heavenly!

Valerie said...

Wow, pistachio marzipan panna cotta! Yes please. :D

Great work, Mary. I love that you had a true Daring Bakers attitude and made various flavours.

The cookies look delicious too, I'd love to grab one (or 2) for my morning coffee.

Suzler said...

You've been busy! Wow, each flavour sounds very tempting, but I'm just so taken with your ginger vanilla panna cotta and blood orange gelee. It is a thing of beauty. Ach, who am I kidding? They all are. :)

Elaine said...

Wow! Your colors just 'pop', Marry. Delicious photos. I have never made panacotta nor florentines. You make me want to make both right now.

shelley c. said...

Holy moly, Mary, I don't know which panna cotta I would choose first, as they all look divine! And you are right - why don't we make it more often - all you need is some fridge space, right?? :) As always, amazing, inspiring work.

Jennifurla said...

Great flavors and textures, you really rose to this challenge.

Namratha said...

Your Panna Cotta turned out great! I wasn't brave enough to unmold mine..well done on the challenge!

Ms. Hobby said...

Very pretty display for your panna cotta and florentines!

Jenni said...

Holy crap you are awesome!! All the flavors sound amazing! And they all looks amazing, too. Great job on this months challenge!

Laurie @simplyscratch said...

Amazing! I love that you always go above and beyond! The ginger-vanilla panna cotta with blood orange gelee sounds perfect and the colors are amazing!

yummychunklet said...

I really like your chocolate drizzle on your cookies!

Valérie said...

Your Florentines look like little jewels! And you rocked the panna cotta part of the challenge, so many variations! I think the pistachio marzipan is the one I would try first.

Lot-O-Choc said...

Ooh wow so many tasty looking pannacottas! They all look delicious, you really out did yourself this challenge! Yum!

Robyn Clarke said...

Looks so elegant in the teacup. Great idea!

Cheap Ethnic Eatz said...

Just so many wonderful variations I cannot pick a favorite. I loved the ease of panna cotta too. I also went for a more traditional florentine, candy indeed

marcellina said...

Mary, what wonderful variations of panna cotta you have presented! Yes, I agree I will be making panna cotta more often. Anyway I won't have any choice - my kids are hooked!

chef_d said...

I love all the flavors of the panna cotta but I'd have to say the ginger-vanilla panna cotta with blood orange gelee is gorgeous! Almonds and candied orange peel florentines sound so yummy! Great job on this challenge!

tasteofbeirut said...

Mary You are the panna cotta empress! I command you to open a store front and start a commerce~ these are wonderful!!!!

Kris Ngoei said...

Panacotta and granita, why didn't I think of that? Such a great combination.... and look great on photo too :-)

Sirius73 said...

Wow - so many different variations! Well done :-)

Sarah said...

Oh my goodness your Florentine's sound like a dream - I love candied orange peel. I also can't believe you peeled and prepared that many pistachios to make delicious paste. Your commitment to baking is amazing. How do you make tilted layers in panna cotta? Is it as simple as chilling it lopsided or is there a special trick? Regardless, amazing work!

thedaintyapron said...

Mary,
Beautiful job! I'm always looking forward to what deliciousness you come up with =)

Sprinkled with Flour said...

Oooh, that blood orange gelee is making my mouth water! It sounds so delicious, great job:)

Lisa said...

Mary, all of your panna cottas are so stunning,and the flavors outstanding, especially the pistachio- marzipan, which I am dying to try. Gorgeous cookies and photos too. I'm awed as always :)

Aparna said...

You made so many different ones? They all look good, and the one with blood orange is very eye-catching. I made mine with pistachio too. :)

RamblingTart said...

I can't stop grinning at all your pretty confections, Mary! I love the wonderful variation, the slope of the orange gelee, so, so pretty. :-)

crumbsoflove said...

Love the sound of everything Mary!! The pistachio version would have been eaten before the camera was even pulled out...

A Canadian Foodie said...

Gorgeous photos and lovely to see one post one day and what you have done so beautifully and creatively with the leftovers another day. Everyone (including you) says this is such an easy dessert. Why can I not master it when I have mastered such complicated dishes? What is the secret?
I love it and want to make it!
:)
Valerie

Lea said...

First of all, I love your blog! Great recipes!

Your ginger panna cotta sounds interesting and creative! I hope it was as special and yummy as it sounds!

Panna cotta with raspberries/sauce is what we usually combine. I love that :)

And your cookies look really beautiful with the chocolate!

Greetings :)