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Vampire Panna Cotta Recipe
Christy, Sinkology’s food-loving recipe blogger, is here to share some recipes she has created for the Sinkology blog that reflect our view of a copper sink: simple, timeless, affordable, and beautifully rustic.
Panna Cotta is such an elegant dessert that couldn’t be simpler to make. It is a creamy, custard-like Italian dessert that is made with dairy such as milk, heavy cream or half & half and thickened with gelatin. A basic panna cotta is most commonly vanilla flavored but can have different flavors too. While it is delicious plain, it is also a wonderful blank canvas to dress up with all kinds of pairings such as fresh fruit, jam, gelée or compote sauces. You can eat it from a decorative vessel or unmold it on a plate. It will hold its shape much like jello. It is one of those easy versatile desserts that has a myriad of ways to create, looks complicated but isn’t and has lovely presentation. You will definitely wow your guests!
With Halloween around the corner, I wanted to try something different and make a more sophisticated dessert. I thought it would be fun to make bloody vampire bite panna cottas. I used POM pomegranate juice to make the gelée base (for blood) but honestly, any red flavored 100% juice (cranberry, raspberry etc.) will work. The rich and creamy vanilla panna cotta complements the tartness of the pomegranate gelée. The angled two-color contrast makes them visually interesting and the bloody vampire bite makes them scarier and cooler.
This is a make-ahead recipe that takes no time to assemble but requires patience for each gelée and panna cotta to set in the refrigerator. I used Knox unflavored gelatin powder commonly found at your local grocery store. The only mild annoyance I have with gelatin powder is that it doesn’t provide crystal clear gelée. Gelatin sheets work the best for that but harder to find. If you are unable to use gelatin, then agar agar powder is a good substitution.
First, determine the decorative clear vessels you’d like to use such as stemless wine glasses, shot glasses, or glass ramekins. Mine are dessert shot glasses. If you want to make smaller ones for a party, the plastic small dessert containers work well that are usually sold at party stores. This recipe makes 8 servings at ¾ cups each (1:2 gelée and panna cotta). The size of your vessel determines the amount used in each one and how many servings.
A 12-cup muffin pan is the trick to keep the vessels tilted until the pomegranate gelée sets. Simply lay a thick kitchen towel over the muffin pan and tilt the vessels at 45-degree angle. The dishtowel will keep them in place without sliding. Set aside.
In a microwaveable container or quart liquid measuring cup, sprinkle 2 tsp. unflavored gelatin over ¼ cup pomegranate juice (from the 2 cup pomegranate juice). Let it soften for a few minutes. Then microwave for 10 seconds so the gelatin dissolves. Stir to dissolve and if you see a few bits of gelatin, then pick them out. Do not keep microwaving it longer or gelatin won’t set well. Pour a little bit of the pomegranate juice into the dissolved gelatin mixture and stir to thoroughly combine then pour the remaining juice. Stir again to thoroughly combine with the gelatin mixture. (One bottle 16 oz POM is 2 cups.)
Carefully pour about ¼ cup juice into each tilted glass – just eyeball equal amounts for each one. Carefully transfer the muffin pan into the refrigerator and let set for 2-4 hours. Do not pick up a glass to check or else it will slide down if it hasn’t been properly set. Err on the caution side and do longer refrigeration.
The pomegranate gelées all set after couple hours of refrigeration – don’t they look cool angled?
When the pomegranate gelées have set, make the panna cotta. In a small bowl, sprinkle 3 tsp. unflavored gelatin over ¼ cups water (one envelope and the extra gelatin from using the pom gelée recipe – measure first). Let it soften and set aside while you make the panna cotta cream.
In a medium saucepan, add 3 cups heavy cream (I used 2 ½ cups heavy cream and ½ cup whole milk) with 1/3 cup granulated sugar. Slowly warm it over medium heat until very warm but not boiling. Remove from heat and stir in 1 tsp. vanilla extract. I normally use one scrapped vanilla bean but wanted to keep my panna cotta very white. I prefer ones with scrapped vanilla bean.
Pour a little of the warmed cream over the gelatin and stir to dissolve. Because I couldn’t see if it was completely dissolved, I strained it over the cream mixture in the saucepan. Stir the cream mixture. Transfer the panna cotta to a quart liquid container and let cool.
When the panna cotta is cool to the touch (if too warm, it will melt the pomegranate gelée and we do not want that), remove the pomegranate gelées from the refrigerator and place on a tray. Pour the cream until it just covers the top each of the pomegranate gelée.
Carefully transfer the tray of panna cottas to the refrigerator for a couple more hours or until set.
Beautiful panna cottas all set!
Let’s make them look like vampire sucking blood. To make the blood, stir together scant tablespoon corn syrup with red food coloring. Add a teeny speck of blue food coloring and adjust with both colors if necessary to make realistic blood color. Stir a little cornstarch at a time to desired consistency. Poke two holes at the top of the panna cottas on the gelée side (I used a lollipop stick). Dip the lollipop stick in the blood and fill the holes. With a small pairing knife, dip the blade in the blood and make the blood drips. No two will look alike and that’s the beauty or at least, that’s what I tell myself.
Note: These would make a beautiful and elegant Holiday dessert by placing a few fresh pomegranate seeds with a spring of mint on top to look like Christmas Holly.
- 2 tsp. unflavored gelatin powder (a little less than 1 envelope, save the remaining gelatin for the panna cotta recipe)
- 2 cups pomegranate juice (or any red colored 100% juice)
- 3 tsp. unflavored gelatin powder
- ¼ cup water
- 3 cups heavy cream or half&half
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- Lay a dishtowel over a 12-cup muffin pan. Tilt each of the 8 glass vessels at a 45-degree angle over each muffin cup.
- In a microwaveable glass bowl or quart liquid measuring cup, sprinkle 2 tsp. unflavored gelatin over ¼ cup pomegranate juice (from the 2 cups juice). Let soften for a few minutes then microwave for 10 seconds. Stir to dissolve the gelatin. Pick out any bits of gelatin that didn’t dissolve if necessary.
- Pour a little of the extra pomegranate juice into the gelatin mixture. Stir to combine then pour the remaining juice. Again stir to thoroughly combine.
- Carefully pour about ¼ cup of the juice in each tilted vessel – just eyeball equal amount for each one.
- Place in refrigerator until set – 2 to 4 hours.
- Sprinkle 3 tsp. unflavored gelatin over ¼ cup cold water in a medium sized bowl or quart liquid measuring cup. Let soften few minutes. Set aside.
- In a saucepan, heat 3 cups of heavy cream with 1/3 cup granulated sugar over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and cream is very warm. Do not let it boil. Remove from heat and add 1 tsp. vanilla extract.
- Pour some of the very warm panna cotta mixture over the softened gelatin. Stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Strain the gelatin mixture over the cream in the saucepan. Stir to combine and transfer panna cotta mixture back to the quart liquid measuring cup/ bowl to cool.
- Let cool at room temperature, not in the refrigerator or it will set up.
- After panna cotta mixture is cool to the touch, remove the pomegranate gelée vessels from the refrigerator. Carefully pour the panna cotta mixture over the pomegranate gelée until it just covers the top of the gelée. Divide for the remaining vessels evenly.
- Carefully transfer the prepared vessels back into the refrigerator until the panna cotta is set – about 2-4 hours.
- To make the blood, stir together scant tablespoon corn syrup with red food coloring. Add a teeny speck of blue food coloring and adjust with both colors if necessary to make realistic blood color. Stir a little cornstarch at a time to desired consistency. Poke two holes at the top of the panna cottas on the gelée side (I used a lollipop stick). Dip the lollipop stick in the blood and fill the holes. With a small pairing knife, dip the blade in the blood and make the blood drips.
- Garnish the top with fresh pomegranate seeds and a spring of mint.