Nutella Panna Cotta with Frangelico Whipped Cream

Nutella Panna Cotta with Frangelico Whipped CreamPod People
My sister invited my family over for dinner about a week ago for no real reason except to be able to talk to someone who doesn’t live within the walls of her home. We’ve done this a lot over the past few months. We are a pod.

Much like many people these days, coming up with something to make for dinner is a bit of a challenge. Even devout cooks like my sister and I are fairly tired of preparing three meals a day. Cooking fatigue is real, my friends. After some heavy thinking (and since it’s a family favorite) she decided to go with paella for dinner. I was put in charge of dessert.

You would think deciding on a dessert would be easy, you would be wrong. Because we were having Spanish cuisine, I wanted to make something chocolate-y because when I think of Spain I think of Spanish hot chocolate and churros. However, I had no desire to fry up churros. I also did not want to do the usual cake because I didn’t want to turn on the oven and make the house hotter. I wanted something different.

I came across this recipe for Panna Cotta and knew it would be the perfect choice. Panna Cotta is an Italian dessert of sweetened cream that uses gelatin for thickening so it can be molded. It is essentially a custard without the eggs. The recipe I found uses Nutella as the base—and you just can’t go wrong with the flavor of chocolate and hazelnuts. It was a hit all around and the perfect ending to a tasty meal.

Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to make this. The Panna Cotta needs as much time as you can give it to set. Topped with plain, sweetened whipped cream, this dessert is so good. Adding a little booze to your whipped cream takes it to an even higher level. I chose to use Frangelico to keep the flavors consistent, but Cointreau would also work well with the chocolate.

Nutella Panna Cotta with Frangelico Whipped Cream
Yields 6 servings
Adapted from NY Times Cooking

For the Panna Cotta
1 envelope unflavored powdered gelatin
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped plus extra for garnish
1 cup Nutella
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup chopped, toasted hazelnuts, for serving (optional)

For the Frangelico Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon superfine sugar*
1 tablespoon Frangelico or Cointreau

Panna Cotta Directions
Prepare the gelatin mixture
In a medium bowl, whisk gelatin with 3 tablespoons cold water. Place the chopped chocolate in another medium bowl. In a large bowl, combine the Nutella and salt.

Add the cream
Bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Pour half of the cream over the gelatin mixture and whisk it gently to combine. Stir in the vanilla. Pour the remaining cream over the chopped chocolate and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Combine two mixtures and whisk together until well combined.

Add the Nutella
Put the Nutella in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Pour one-third of the gelatin-chocolate-cream mixture over the Nutella. Using an electric mixer on low speed, beat the mixture until a smooth paste forms. Pour in the remaining gelatin-chocolate-cream mixture and the milk. Beat the Panna Cotta until fully combined.

Strain the Panna Cotta
Strain the Panna Cotta through a fine-mesh sieve into six ramekins. Cover each ramekins loosely with a piece of plastic wrap and chill them in the refrigerator until set, about six hours or overnight.

Serve the panama’s Cotta sprinkled with chopped hazelnuts, a sprinkle of grated bittersweet chocolate, and a dollop of Frangelico Whipped Cream.

Frangelico Whipped Cream Directions
This should be make shortly before serving.

Whip the cream
Beat 1 cup heavy cream in a large mixing bowl until soft peaks form.

Add the flavoring
Sprinkle the cream with 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon of Frangelico. Gently fold the flavoring into the whipped cream and taste. (Feel free to add more liquor if you like, just don’t go too crazy or you’ll overwhelm the flavors of the Panna Cotta.)

Re-whip the cream
Beat the cream again until the soft peaks return.

*Note: If you don’t have superfine sugar, grind some regular sugar in a food processor.

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