Despite it being slow torture for more, uh, normal people, we’ve always been the kind of weirdos that love moving. The neurotic organization, the sorting and purging of possessions– it’s the perfect blend of rehashing the past and fresh start. It’s the best of both worlds, especially if someone else is doing all the schlepping.
But the one part of moving that undeniably sucks is paring down your pantry. I (Rachel) am mid-move and, right now, all that’s left in my cabinets are two cans of coconut milk (typically reserved for coffee-emergencies) and a box of gelatin packets I’ve been lugging around since college. Determined to avoid the store (or, tbh Postmates-ing milkshakes), I’m trying hard to do my best with what’s on hand. And, lucky for me, that best is panna cotta.
Panna cotta is sweetened milk that’s set to a jiggle with gelatin. And, like moving, it’s the best of two worlds, too. It’s got all the lusciousness and sex appeal of a slow-cooked custard with the idiot-proof ease of Jello. Often swirled with chocolate or studded with berries, we drizzled ours with honey from local babe and beekeeper Jana Kinsman and some sunshine-bright grapefruit. The honey and fat from the coconut keep the grapefruit from being too bitter– and the grapefruit adds a juicy burst of acid that balances out the rest of the panna cotta’s richness.
- ⅓ cup Honey
- Guts of 1 Vanilla Bean
- Pinch o’ Salt
- 2 ½ tsp Gelatin– we go classic with Knox because it’s basically flavorless. YMMV with vegan or Kosher gelatin substitutes. Read your labels!
- 1 Grapefruit
- ½ cup Oil
- a few sprigs of Mint, for garnish
- You’ll also need: 6 small jars, glasses, or ramekins to hold the Panna Cotta
- In a small pot (or bowl, but why dirty an extra dish), combine the Coconut Milk, Honey, Vanilla Bean Guts, and Salt. Stir well to combine, and then sprinkle the Gelatin on top. Let it hang out in a weird, wrinkly layer to soften for two minutes.
- When the two minutes are up, gently heat the mixture over medium heat. The Gelatin get all melty and dissolved while constantly stirring– about 4 minutes. Low and slow is the name of the game. If you boil Gelatin, you weaken the wiggle magic and your Panna Cotta won’t set.
- Pour the mixture into small cups or ramekins, cover with plastic wrap, and park it in the fridge (maybe all tucked into a casserole dish, so it’s easy to maneuver?). Panna Cotta takes somewhere between 3 and 8 hours to set. Be patient– or make it a day or two in advance.
- While the Panna Cotta sets up, supreme a Grapefruit. Drain away any extra juice (and, idk, shake it with a little vodka, a splash of orange liqueur or rosemary-orange simple syrup, and a bunch of ice), and place the grapefruit into a small bowl. You can absolutely stop here and top the Panna Cotta with beautiful jewel-pink wedges of fruit. OR you can make magical little Grapefruit pearls with basically no effort that will convince your friends that you’re a witch.
- Just cover the Grapefruit with ½ cup of neutral tasting Oil, toss it around a bit, and let set for an hour or two. Give it another stir, and you’ll notice that the little segmenty parts of the fruit are falling off. Stir some more, and start to gently break things apart with your fingers until you have a bowl full of tiny, beautiful, juice pods (“Juice Vesicles,” if you’re a scientist). Drain away the oil (save it for a dope salad dressing later in the week), and give the pearls a rinse. They’ll keep in the fridge for a couple days.
- Once the Panna Cotta is set up, serve cold in the cups, topped with extra Honey, the Grapefruit pearls, and maybe, like, some Mint. Or, dang, Basil would be hella tasty, too. You can unmold Panna Cotta pretty easily, if you wanna be fancy and plate it up. Just run a wet finger around the edge, kind of like you would a Jello Shot (not that we know how to do Jello Shots, Mom), to break the seal on the walls of the container. Then flip it over onto the plate and let gravity do all the work for you.