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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.
Panna Cotta is something that I've been wanting to try for a while. It is a creamy, soft and delicious gelatin based dessert that can be served with fruit compote, or gelee, or even on its own. Florentines are thin and crispy biscuits usually made with almonds, but for this challenge, they were made with quick oats. Together, they form the perfect pair creamy & crunchy.
For this challenge, I decided to make a few different versions for the Panna Cotta. My first experience was a Coconut Panna Cotta that would be used to fill a sweet pumpkin. This sweet pumpkin is a Brazilian recipe where you fill the pumpkin with sugar, add some cloves and cinnamon sticks and bake it until it gets soft. The water content from the pumpkin dissolves the sugar and forms a syrup. Unfortunately, the only pumpkin I found here in Korea was Buttercup Squash which is quite dry and did not dissolve the sugar properly. Maybe next time I'll try making a syrup first, and pouring it in the pumpkin before baking.
I wanted to fill my pumpkin with coconut Panna Cotta, since this combination is very popular among Brazilian desserts. So, I substituted coconut milk for the milk from the original recipe. It tasted good, but was too rich for my liking, so next time I will try substituting for the cream instead.
I had some coconut Panna Cotta left, so I thought it might pair well with pineapple gelee. I had some pineapple compote in the fridge that needed to be used up, so that was very timely. It turned out really delicious, despite the richness of the coconut panna cotta.
Then, it was time to try Vanilla Panna Cotta. I followed the given recipe, only adding vanilla beans. It was really delicious. I topped it with strawberry gelee and also tried kiwi gelee, but this one did not unmold very well.
I also made some tiny Vanilla Panna Cotta and topped with some store bought blueberry filling, just for fun.
And last, but not least, the Florentines. The recipe given for this challenge called for quick oats instead of almonds. Other Daring Bakers commented that the recipe was too sweet, so i decided to cut the sugar in half. They turned out delicious! More like a cookie than a Florentine, but that was probably due to the reduced sugar content.
Thanks Mallory for hosting this delicious challenge!
Please visit THE DARING KITCHEN to see an array of wonderful Panna Cottas and Florentines from the other Daring Bakers, where you can also find the original recipes for this challenge.