Friday, December 01, 2017

Flashback Friday - Sweet Potato Panna Cotta

flashback friday graphic
This post originally appeared on on May 6, 2015.

I'm a fan of sweet potatoes, but Mr Minx is not. I really hate having to prepare two different starches with dinner if he doesn't want any of my sweet potatoes, because of course he won't go without. So I normally don't buy them at all, and only eat them around Thanksgiving, or if I can get one as a side dish in a restaurant. But we sometimes get sweet potatoes in our shipment from Washington's Green Grocer, and then I have to be inventive. I've incorporated sweet potatoes into snack cake, scones, hummus, and spaetzle, all quite successfully. And now I've used them in panna cotta.

I saw it somewhere online, perhaps a restaurant review or blog: sweet potato panna cotta with toasted marshmallow. I had sweet potatoes, and I had nice homemade vanilla marshmallows (well, not homemade by me, but by Nikki of Mallow Crunchies), and it just struck me as something I wanted to eat. And as something I could feed to my husband.

We ate the panna cotta both refrigerated and frozen. The latter is a lot like the Indian ice cream, kulfi, especially with a dose of cardamom. The former works best with the marshmallow, but both need the crunchy, burnt sugar bitterness of the pumpkin seed brittle, which also adds texture to the creamy richness.

Sweet Potato Panna Cotta (adapted from Christina Tosi)

2 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin
2 tablespoons water
1 cup mashed sweet potatoes
1 cup milk
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
Release spray
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup sugar
Marshmallows, preferably homemade

Sprinkle the gelatin over the water in a microwave-safe bowl. Let stand 3 minutes, until softened.

In a blender, combine the potatoes with the milk, cream, condensed milk, sugar, spices, and pinch of salt.

Warm the gelatin mixture in the microwave for 10-15 seconds, until melted. Add to the blender and blend well to combine.

Pour sweet potato mixture into a loaf pan sprayed well with release spray. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until set.

While panna cotta is setting, make the brittle. Prepare a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper and set aside. Pour the pumpkin seeds into a small skillet and toast over medium heat, shaking the pan regularly, until the seeds puff up. Remove from pan and set aside. Pour the sugar into the pan with a few tablespoons of water. Cook the sugar over medium heat until it melts and then starts to turn light amber around the edges. Stir in the pumpkin seeds and cook the mixture, stirring regularly, until the sugar turns medium brown. It will smoke; open a window. Once sugar is browned and is just starting to smell burnt, remove from heat and pour onto prepared parchment. Spread brittle slightly with a wooden spoon, then set aside to cool. Once cool, break into large shards.

If you're using homemade marshmallow, cut them into long fingers. Place a few on a piece of aluminum foil and brulee with a creme brulee torch. (If using store-bought marshmallows, line up 2-3 of them and brulee.) Cut chilled panna cotta into similarly-sized rectangles. Top each one with a piece of bruleed marshmallow and a shard of brittle.

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