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Hi Bold Bakers!
NOTE FROM GEMMA: Welcome back Vedika! She’s here again with a gorgeous treat for us — her Chocolate and Raspberry Panna Cotta Tart recipe. Make sure to check out her Salted Caramel Fudge, Dirty Chai Brownies, and Cinnamon Roll Muffins too!
This year, I spent a month in Italy, where I sampled all the confectionery I could. From velvety gelato to creamy cannoli, and plush panna cotta, I tried it all. For those of you who are not familiar with panna cotta, it falls under the category of puddings, and is made with a base of milk and cream, which are heated together till scalding, then infused with vanilla and set in the fridge with the help of some gelatin. Finally, panna cotta is served with a strawberry or raspberry coulis, or fresh fruit. In Italian, panna cotta means ‘cooked cream.’ It makes for the perfect summer-time treat, a perfect way to showcase seasonal fruit, and requires no oven or fancy equipment.
But we aren’t just stopping at panna cotta, as delicious as it is by itself. This recipe takes the dessert to the next level, adding a tender base beneath and topping it off with stunning summer produce. By no means do I claim this to be an authentic recipe, rather it is a fusion of a classic Italian dessert with a fruit tart, traditionally filled with custard instead of panna cotta.
Although a fruit tart is traditionally made with a shortcrust pastry, I decided to stick to the ‘no-bake’ theme and swapped it with a chocolate cookie crust, which adds a slightly bitter undertone to the subtle and sweet vanilla flavor of the panna cotta. Finally, I finished it with fresh raspberries. Not only do raspberries and panna cotta pair beautifully, but the combination of raspberries and chocolate is also a favorite. The three elements sync perfectly with one another.
You’ll only need a handful of ingredients to prepare this recipe.
Ingredients For The Panna Cotta Tart
a fusion of Oreo cookies and melted butter suffice. Feel free to use any cookie you like, be it a gingersnap or shortbread. The melted butter acts like glue and helps the crust set nicely. You’ll need to keep the crust nice and cold before pouring in the filling.
Ingredients For The Filling
Heavy whipping cream – this adds richness to the dessert
Whole milk – this balances the richness of the cream slightly. Feel free to swap both heavy cream and whole milk with half and half.
Gelatin – Gelatin powder helps this dessert set, but if you prefer, you can also swap it with agar-agar, a vegan alternative. You refer to Gemma’s article here on using agar agar as a gelatin replacement. With Gelatin, you need to bloom the gelatin and add it in last, immediately when the cream mixture is taken off the heat. For agar agar, you’ll need to add powdered agar agar to the mixture at the start rather than at the end. Use a 1:1 ratio of agar agar with gelatin powder.
Vanilla bean – vanilla bean is the real deal, but if you can’t find it use vanilla extract. 1 ½ tsp should suffice. If using vanilla extract, add it at the end once the cream comes off the heat.
Lemon peel – adds a nice level of freshness, but is not the most important ingredient so it can be omitted if you wish.
Granulated sugar – just a little to sweeten things up
Berries – I love raspberries but this works well with strawberries or any berries you have on hand.
Confectioners’ sugar – just for dusting.
Tips and Tricks
Infusing. You’ll want to ensure that the cream and milk mixture get the most flavor from the vanilla bean and lemon peel. To do this, split the vanilla bean, scrape out the seeds, add both the seeds and the pod to the cream. Next, add the lemon peel and bring everything to a boil. Once it’s done you’ll strain the mixture to ensure your panna cotta is silky smooth.
Cold is gold. You’ll need to cool the cream down before pouring it into the crust. This is absolutely crucial, because if it’s too wet it might seep through the crust and make it soggy. How do I like to do this? I pour the panna cotta mixture into a glass bowl that’s been set atop another bowl filled with ice. Just whisk till it begins to thicken and resembles a thin pudding (it will be somewhere between pudding and cream). Once it starts to set it goes quite quickly so be careful. Too set and it may look a bit like scrambled egg.
The tart shell. I like to pop the tart shell into the freezer while I make the panna cotta mixture. It helps ensure that the liquid doesn’t make the base soggy.
The fruit. You’ll want to top with berries right before serving so that they stay fresh.
Pretty straightforward! Let’s get started — get the written recipe further down the page.
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