|The fat rises to the top over time because it hasn't been homogenised.|
While the milk I'm getting is not quite comparable to the best Channel Island or Jersey milk, it's still infinitely better than any commercial milk you could buy. For a start, the flavour has so much more character - it tastes different every week! It's not so surprising after all - it is easy to forget that milk actually comes from a cow, not a factory. Cows don't feel the same every week (neither do we), and it is only natural that the milk that comes out of them should taste different too.
Since cream is nothing but the fat that rises to the top of the milk over time, in a dessert as bare and simple as panna cotta, the quality of the cream you use is crucial. Most renditions of panna cotta - which means 'cooked cream' in Italian - call for vanilla as flavouring. This is particularly necessary when the cream you use is the generic kind you find in shops. You can of course flavour it with tea, coffee, citrus peels, etc. This week I have some lovely golden cream from the farm, so I decided to make a plain panna cotta to capture the flavour of this golden elixir.
Panna cottaMaybe only slightly less famous than Tiramisu,
400ml double/heavy cream
280ml whole milk
1 packet of gelatin powder (2 1/4 tsps)
Pour the milk and cream to a large saucepan. Add sugar and sprinkle gelatin on top. Put on stove top,turn on medium heat and cook (stirring all the time!) until it is very hot, but not quite boiling. (If the mixture is boiled the setting property of the gelatin will be partially destroyed - or so I am told!) The gelatin and sugar should be dissolved by now. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve to remove any undissolved bits of gelatin (should there be any). Stir from time to time until it is at room temperature, and pour into individual containers and leave in the fridge to set for at least 4 hours.
For something so rich, it is always better to serve in smaller portions. To unmould, place the ramekins in a bigger bowl with hot water for like 10 seconds so that the edges melt slightly before inverting to a plate to serve.