The February 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen. She chose to challenge everyone to make Panna Cotta from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and Nestle Florentine Cookies.
This months challenge fell right as one of my roommates was moving out. This roommate LOVES Harry Potter so I decided to make a butterbeer panna cotta, with the inspiration from Stardustchef. I also have recently found myself surrounded by ‘almost’ vegetarians. These ‘almost’ types are funny, “I want to be vegetarian, but can I still use chicken broth? What about jello shots?” So I attempted to make a vegetarian panna cotta with Agar Agar.
I really hesitate to make adjustments to strong recipes, it really is risking some good quality ingredients, but 8 times out of 10 the product is atleast tolerable and repeatable. This was the case with the Agar Agar. I actually really liked using it as a substitution for gelatin. My only qualms were the price, and I think I over heated it when using it with the cream soda gellee… :(
So I made several little mugs, a few parfait glasses, and one shot glass of butterbeer panna cotta.
I tried to add the cream soda (the element that turns butterscotch into butterbeer) gellee but as previously mentioned I think I murdered the setting enzyme in Agar Agar, so it remained very wet and soupy. I scratched that idea, poured off all the cream soda, and decided to brulee the tops in the oven. It would work much better with a blowtorch but not all of us are welders. They turned out pretty delicious.
The Agar Agar doesn’t have a smooth interior, but the outsides of the panna cottas were lusciously smooth. Another quality I loved about using Agar Agar was that it sets up in about 30 minutes at room temperature! (Gelatin takes a few hours and refrigeration)