Coffee Panna Cotta
“The coffee–lemon pairing is a souvenir of a drink enjoyed in the Apulia region in summer: caffè in ghiaccio, an espresso poured over a glass of ice cubes with an aromatic twist of lemon peel. I love rediscovering the flavours of this very refreshing iced coffee in my panna cotta.” Laura Zavan
20 minutes preparation time
7 minutes cooking time
2 hours refrigeration time
Makes 4–5 glasses
500 ml (17 fl oz/ 2 cups) thickened (whipping) cream
10 g (¼ oz) instant coffee granules
finely grated zest of 1 lemon (preferably unwaxed)
1 vanilla bean, split lengthways and seeds scraped
50 g (1¾ oz) sugar
1 teaspoon agar-agar (see below)
1 tablespoon cornflour (cornstarch)
good-quality dark chocolate shavings, to decorate
tuile-style biscuits or ladyfinger or savoiardi biscuits to serve
Place 400 ml (14 fl oz) of the cream, the coffee blended into a very small amount of water, the lemon zest and the vanilla bean and seeds in a saucepan over a low heat.
Once the cream is warm, add the sugar. In a small bowl, combine the agar-agar with the cornflour and blend this mixture with the remaining cream. Combine this mixture with the warm cream, whisking to avoid lumps forming. Bring the mixture to the boil, continuing to stir.
Take the pan off the heat and let the mixture cool down until just warm, stirring regularly. Pour the cream into serving glasses and let it cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours for the cream to set before serving.
Decorate with shavings of chocolate and serve chilled with a few biscuits.
Note: A plant-based setting agent I use agar-agar in my panna cotta recipes, mixed with cornflour for a smoother texture. Agar-agar, a red algae extract, melts at 80°C (175°F) and starts to set at 25°C (75°F).