Nutella Panna Cotta

This week's blog them is "comforting Valentine's desserts."  My mind automatically goes to chocolate, then to panna cotta, then figuring out how I can incorporate Nutella into it.  Normal progression of a normal person's thought pattern, right?  I wanted to keep to the traditional panna cotta recipe, using sour cream to finish it, giving it a delicate brightness.  I figured that could serve Nutella well.  And it does.  This recipe turned out to be very simplistic in its measurements and minimal in it ingredients (no added sugar needed!), even though it looks super-fancy.  Just the plain Nutella panna cotta is plain brown.  I put a rich Nutella and butter "chocolate button" on top with a sprinkling of chopped toasted hazelnuts for aesthetic and to add textural and flavor intensity.  How I finished it reminds me of an old childhood favorite candy, Toffifany.  (I found an old 1978 Toffifany commercial, "not too good for YOU!")  Hopefully, this dessert works well to win the heart of a Valentine you have in mind.

Nutella Panna Cotta
  • gelatin, unflavored powder, 1 teaspoon
  • water, cold, 1 tablespoon
  • cream, 1 cup
  • Nutella, 1/2 cup (and additional 1/2 cup reserved)
  • salt, pinch
  • vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon
  • sour cream, 4 ounces (1/2 cup)
  • butter, 2 tablespoons
  • hazelnuts, 2 tablespoons, toasted and chopped
  1. In a very small bowl, measure out the gelatin.  Then slowly and gently put the cold water on top.  Allow to sit and "bloom" the gelatin for at least 10 minutes.
  2. In a medium/smallish saucepan, measure and dump in 1 cup of cream and 1/2 cup of Nutella.  Over low/medium heat, gently whisk continuously.  Once it heats up over about 5 minutes, it should become homogenous.  At this point, turn of the heat.  Do not allow to boil.  Add in the bloomed gelatin and whisk until it dissolves completely.  Add in the pinch of salt and vanilla.  Stir well.
  3.  In a separate medium mixing bowl, measure in the 1/2 cup sour cream.  Slowly add in the heated Nutella/cream/gelatin mixture while whisking well.  Make sure it is smooth and no tiny lumps of sour cream.  Pour and divide into 4 tiny bowls (I like the kids IKEA set), ramekins, tea cups, etc...  Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
  4. Over very low heat in a tiny sauce pan, melt together the 1/2 cup Nutella with the 2 tablespoons butter with constant stirring.  Once it gets liquid, cut the heat or it will get weird and clumpy.  Immediately spoon 1-2 teaspoons of this molten goodness on the set up panna cottas and gently spread into a chocolate button.  Repeat for all 4 portions.  Place a tiny pile of the chopped, toasted hazelnuts on top of the chocolate button.  Serve immediately, or keep in fridge until ready for serving.  Makes 4 servings.  Enjoy!
-Erin Swing
The Sensitive Epicure

This is part of Food Network's Comfort Food Feast. Check out The FN Dish.  This week we're focusing on comforting Valentine's desserts.  On twitter, we're tagging #ComfortFoodFeast.  Here are other awesome desserts to woo your Valentine with:  

Food for 7 Stages of Life: S'mores on a Stick
Tasting With The Eyes: Puff au Chocolat avec Fraises, Basilic, Fleur de Sel