Meyer Lemon Panna Cotta

Discussion in 'Recipes' started by schmoozer, Apr 28, 2010.

  1. schmoozer

    schmoozer

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    Last edited: Apr 28, 2010
  2. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    Look good, I'm drooling already!  This will be perfect served with some blueberries.  Sounds like a lot of lemon though.  Could I use regular lemons if I don't find Meyer?
     
  3. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    KK, you can use Persian lemons, but might have to balance the sugar a little, as Meyer lemons are sweeter.

    If you're going to serve this with blueberries, I would make the panna cotta in individual molds, and unmold before serving. Then top and/or surround with the berries.
     
  4. schmoozer

    schmoozer

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    I'd agree with KY about possibly adjusting the sugar since, as stated, Meyers tend to be milder/sweeter than typical lemons.  However, I like an intense lemon flavor, so I made this with Meyer and one regular lemon and left the sugar as mentioned in the original post.

    A peripheral question: If I wanted to used Splenda instead of sugar, how would the amount of sweetner be adjusted, or would it?  I've never used Splenda, rarely bake, and don't even have sugar in the house - borrowed some from a neighbor when I made this.
     
  5. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    I don't cook with splenda but I used to put it in my coffee.  It is much much sweeter than sugar, I would say cut the amount by half.
     
  6. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    Splenda is supposed to substitute on a 1:1 basis, like Sugar Twin and several others. But I agree with Koukouvagia. It's much sweeter tasting.

    I've also found that when cooking with the substitute sugars that there's a tendency for them to turn bitter. And there's almost always a lingering, unpleasant aftertaste.
     
  7. schmoozer

    schmoozer

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    I made the dish again and decided to stay with sugar, but I did reduce the amount somewhat, mainly to increase the lemon flavor.  I added some blueberries as Koukouvagia suggested.  It looks pretty, and it'll probably taste pretty durned good, too.
     
  8. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    That's it, I'm making panna cotta tomorrow!
     
  9. schmoozer

    schmoozer

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    Let us know how you like it.

    Since I like intense lemon flavor, I used a large regular lemon (including the zest) and the balance of Meyer lemons and their zest.  I cut back sugar to a couple of TBS less than one cup.  Next time I make it, I'll put blueberries in the bottom of ramekins and pour the panna cotta over them, then the berries will cover the top of the panna cotta when the dessert is removed from the container.

    I've made this with non-fat and low-fat Greek yogurt - both turned out well.  I used Trader Joe's yogurt.  Also, use a good heavy cream.  Some store brands are loaded with chemicals and additives. 
     
  10. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    So I made the panna cotta.  I didn't have any meyer lemons so I used 2 whole california lemons.  I also used whole fat greek yogurt because it's all I had.  I used all organic ingredients including sugar which may not have been the best thing since it's not white, my panna cotta wasn't a bright white color.  I put blueberries in the bottom of my ramekins and filled them with the panna cotta but the blueberries floated up to the top. 

    The flavor was very nice (lemony!), the texture was beautiful and the blueberries were wonderful.  I wasn't crazy about the tartness from the yogurt, it was a bit too present for me but still very good.  This was my first time making panna cotta, what a fabulously easy and tasty dessert!

    When making it for dinner parties is it easy to make in a large mould?  How do you unmold that?  I had a hard time unmolding the little ramekins.  And then do you slice it like a cake to serve?
     
  11. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    KK: Run a sharp knife around the edge of the panna cotta. Dip the mold into hot water for a short while. Depending on material this can be as little as ten seconds. Then put your serving plate over the mouth of the mold and invert everything.

    Yes, a large mold can just be divided like a cake.

    As a general rule, when using fresh fruit, it is added as a topping or side-garnish, after unmolding, rather than molded in.

    Now that you've discovered how simultaneously easy and elegant panna cotta can be, you might want to read Camilla Saulsbury's great little book,  Panna Cotta: Italy's Elegant Custard Made Easy. A hundred different versions (both sweet and savory), tips and techniques, and lots of inspiration for developing your own.
     
  12. schmoozer

    schmoozer

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    KK - I've made this a few times and highly recommend making it according to the recipe and see how it works for you.  Meyer lemons, as noted earlier, have a different flavor profile than "regular" lemons, and using regular lemons could determine how much sugar you use. 

    Also, I made it once using regular sugar, and there was a very slight graininess the result - not as smooth as when I made it other times.  I believe that the sugar did not dissolve as well as it would have had superfine sugar been used.  So, if using regular sugar, be sure it dissolves completely - you may want to cook the syrup mixture a little longer than what may seem necessary, although you seem to have been satisfied with the texture.

    I am convinced that some yogurts have additives that can effect the result.  I made it a point to check the ingredient list on the yogurt I used to be sure it wasn't "contaminated" by odd ingredients.  It's also possible that the results might be a little different because of the type of yogurt used: fat free, low fat, full fat.  I'm just supposing on that point because I've not tried a side-by-side comparison of the three possibilities.  However, I'd strongly suggest to anyone making this dish, use a good quality Greek style yogurt.

    Finally, I made sure to finely mince the lemon zest, and let it sit for a bit in the hot sugar syrup mixture before adding to the yogurt.  That gave a smoother texture and mouth feel than when I didn't mince the zest so fine, and letting the zest sit a bit in the hot syrup may have added a bit to the lemon flavor.

    Regardless, it's an easy and tasty dessert to make, and in some ways, using yogurt makes it a little healthier than panna cotta made with all cream.  I'm glad you liked it.
     
  13. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    If you need superfine sugar and don't have any there's a simple solution. Put the regular granulated in a spice mill or mini-food processor and give it a pulse or three. That's all it takes.
     
  14. schmoozer

    schmoozer

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    Not being a sugar user, that's good advice.  The person who sent me the recipe mentioned it as well.  Gotta try it some time.  Question: couldover processing the sugar add enough heat to in some way change the characteristics of the sugar, such as partially melting or softening it?
     
  15. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    While that's a possibility, Schmoozer, there's a more immediate problem with overprocessing. You're not looking to make powdered sugar, just develop a finer grind.

    That's why we use the pulse button for things like this, rather than letting the machine rip.
     
  16. organicreview

    organicreview

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    Thanks for this. Always on the lookout for something easy to make.