The food blogger life is damn cool! Just to begin with I am able to express my egocentrism without exaggerate or upset anyone, after all the blog is mine and I’m the one that writes it! And I am also able to know, in and out of the web, incredible and special people!
Imagine that some time ago I became friend of the fishmonger of the nearest market and I asked him a whole salmon that I had to fillet for the Christmas dinner. The funny thing is that he was somehow convinced I was a chef (aside my face I have seriously nothing that may suggest so!) and as soon as I understood it I made clear I was just a husband that loves to cook! I really have too much respect for all the chefs and their work to let people believe I am even near to that job. Another thing that happened is that, almost without realizing, I started studying very seriously all the tecniques used for all types of recipes, it became impossible to cook without trying to understand what happens when you cook something! This is one of the reasons why I also started to look differently to the chefs on tv. It is not easy at all to understand what they are actually doing on the screen, also because almost all of them have a strong jealousy of their tecniques and they do not want to share them, and I started observing them with the utmost attention to catch even the smallest hint! This is one of the ways I tried out my first Caramel!
You may object that it is a so easy thing to do…obviously…after you know how to do it everything looks easy!
So, just as usual, I obliged my friends to get a taste of a dessert I made! I suspect they will stop coming to eat at my place afraid of what I will let them taste!
Also this time I got the inspiration of the dessert from the Pastry Chef Luca Montersino (I’m fixated on him, I’m already expecting my wife getting sooner or later jealous of him!) but, as usual, due to some ingredients missing and one of my friends beeing allergic to alcohol, I modified the original recipe. Mind that for me this is always a jump into the unknown, but it is also a great school to understand my own mistakes!
I will show to you how to do it, I liked it really a lot but for someone it can be a little bit sour (and this is where I understood why the original recipe got oranges instead of lemons) with the lemon juice I used. It is really to taste.
Ingredients for 8 porsions:
-for the panna cotta (which is basicly cooked fresh cream)
- 800 gr fresh cream
- 175 gr full fat fresh milk
- 155 gr white sugar
- pulp of half a berry of vanilla
- 12 gr aspic sheets
-for the lemon caramel
- 250 gr white sugar
- 175 gr lemon juice (ok my caramel was really sour, so you can substitute half the dose of lemon juice with water)
- a little pinch of salt
- crunchy muesli (I used the agglomerated ones)
To begin with we need to prepare all the ingredients in cups to have them available as soon as needed.
We take the aspic sheets and let them become soft in cold water for 10 minutes. We start the lemon caramel.
First we squeeze the lemons to make the juice (before cutting them in 2 roll them pushing them with the hand, they will be juicier) and we filter it. We put it on a side. We take a little casserole and we let it become hot on the stove. When the pot is hot we drizzle a thin layer of sugar into it and wait till it starts to melt. When all the sugar is almost melt we mix it a bit and pour another layer of sugar. We go on like this for almost half the sugar amount and then we add it all. We mix it once and let it caramel properly. While we wait we let the lemon juice boil in the microwave (15 secs at max power is enough). Now that the caramel is brown and melt we add a little bit of lemon juice and mix it well. Mind that the sugar is extremely hot and the juice boils instantly evaporating in dangerous steam. So keep hands and face far from the casserole. Pour and mix a little bit at a time till the jiuce is finished and then turn the caramel off. We transfer it form the casserole to a glass bowl and let it cool. Now it is still really liquid but it will be much more fluid as soon a sit cools.
We now take 200 gr of cream and we pour it in a large casserole with the milk and the pulp of the vanilla berry. We let it become warm on the stove. When its temperature is high enough (not to boiling point) we add the aspic sheets and the sugar. We stir till all of them are well melt. Mind that it is importanto to have the cream warm since the sugar can melt completely only in a hot liquid! Now we add the cold cream we have left to lower the temperature of the mixture. We mix it again to blend all the ingredients well.
Now we take our serving cups, I used very simple glass cups, and we pour half a cm layer of lemon caramel. On top of that we use a small ladle to add the panna cotta mixture with great care. The weight of the caramel is higher than the cream and so it will always thend to go on the bottom of the cup, but we still need to be careful they do not mix too much. Leave a centimeter or two till the border of the cup and let them cool in the fridge for more or less 2 hours so they will become firm.
For the final decoration we pour a very small amount of the leftover caramel, just to colour a bit and on the top the agglomerated muesli, to give a crunchy feeling to the dessert. We top the cups with powdered sugar and we serve!
HOW MUCH IS IT? The cream cost is quite high but the dessert is indeed delicious! The cost per portion of today is roughly € 1.50!