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Rhubarb Panna Cotta

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Rhubarb Panna Cotta

This rhubarb panna cotta is an easy, dreamily creamy dessert that showcases the sharp, bright taste of rhubarb in three different ways.

Rhubarb Panna Cotta // FoodNouveau.com

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What’s your favorite way to enjoy rhubarb every spring? When I was growing up, my mom would make rhubarb cobblers every year, as well as strawberry-rhubarb crisps during the magical few weeks when the seasons of both fruits overlap. Though I’ve made both of those desserts in my own kitchen, to my taste buds, my mom’s versions remain the best. All I need to do to get a taste of some of my favorite childhood treats again is to visit my parents during rhubarb season, and I’m sure to find either one of those desserts ready to enjoy.

Over the years, I’ve developed a new list of rhubarb-based favorite recipes: I make classics such as compotes, quick breads, and pies, but also more sophisticated treats such as rhubarb gelato, pâtes de fruits, and macarons. What I love most about rhubarb is its tartness, which plays so well with sweeter elements. Just like citrus fruits, I find rhubarb produces deliciously complex, not-too-sweet desserts that I can’t get enough of.

Fresh rhubarb stalks at the market // FoodNouveau.com

This year, I was obsessed with the idea of making rhubarb panna cotta. In my mind, combining the rich, creamy panna cotta with sharp rhubarb would undoubtedly create a dreamy treat. Fortunately, I still had some of last year’s rhubarb in the freezer, so I was able to experiment and create this memorable dessert.

Rhubarb Panna Cotta // FoodNouveau.com

This Rhubarb Panna Cotta showcases rhubarb three ways: a compote is mixed into the panna cotta itself, giving it a slightly zesty note, and also used to top the rhubarb panna cotta for a pop of color and concentrated rhubarb flavor. Poached rhubarb finishes the elegant dessert for a spectacular presentation. Don’t hesitate to double or triple those batches of compote and poached rhubarb, because I’ll bet you’ll love them on your morning toast or over oatmeal, too!

Rhubarb Panna Cotta // FoodNouveau.com

Helpful Tips for Making Rhubarb Panna Cotta


Can I use frozen rhubarb to make this panna cotta?

Yes you can! In this recipe, fresh rhubarb and frozen rhubarb can be used interchangeably. See my tips for freezing rhubarb, below.

How to stock up on and freeze fresh rhubarb

Of course, you should use rhubarb while it’s fresh and in season, but make sure to freeze some, too! A bit of thinking ahead in the spring will allow you to enjoy rhubarb desserts, such as this panna cotta, all year long.

To freeze fresh rhubarb, buy several bunches of fresh rhubarb, trim and wash the stalks, cut them into 5-inch (12.5 cm) lengths, and pack into resealable freezer bags. Freeze and you’ll get to enjoy rhubarb desserts all year long! Frozen rhubarb will keep for up to 3 months in a refrigerator freezer, and for up to 1 year in a chest freezer.

Chopped fresh rhubarb stalks // FoodNouveau.com

CAN I MAKE Rhubarb PANNA COTTA IN ADVANCE?

Yes you can, and in fact, you should! Panna cotta needs to be refrigerated for several hours to set, so it’s best to make it at least a half-day in advance. You can refrigerate set rhubarb panna cotta for up to 5 days. Always garnish it with the toppings of your choosing (if any!) right before serving.

WHY DOES GELATIN NEED TO REST, OR “BLOOM” BEFORE I USE IT?

The type of gelatin I use to make rhubarb panna potta is a dry, grainy powder and it needs to be steeped into a liquid to rehydrate. This step is crucial to creating a super-smooth, creamy panna cotta. Although “blooming” might sound like a technical term (albeit an elegant-sounding one), blooming gelatin is actually super easy. All you need to do is to sprinkle the gelatin over a liquid and leave it to rest, without stirring, for about 5 minutes. After that resting period, you’ll mix in the hot liquid, which will allow the gelatin to fully dissolve and help you create that irresistibly wobbly panna cotta texture.

Blooming gelatin // FoodNouveau.com

CAN I USE SHEET GELATIN INSTEAD OF POWDERED GELATIN?

Powdered gelatin is usually the easiest type of gelatin to find. The brand I use is Knox unflavored gelatin, and it is sold in all North American supermarkets. In Europe, gelatin sheets can be easier to find than powdered gelatin.

If you’ve got gelatin sheets on hand, you can use it to make rhubarb panna cotta. For 1 packet of powdered gelatin (2 1/2 teaspoons), substitute 5 sheets, each measuring about 2-7/8″ x 8-1/2″ (7 cm x 11.5 cm). To rehydrate gelatin sheets, you need to steep them in cold water for 5 minutes. This means you can warm up all the milk and cream together, instead of setting aside 1/2 cup (125 ml) of the milk to bloom the gelatin. Once gelatin sheets are soft, drain and squeeze out excess water. Add to the hot milk and cream mixture and stir until fully dissolved.

HOW TO MAKE VEGAN PANNA COTTA

It’s easy to make vegan panna cotta. Here’s how:

  • Substitute plant milk and cream for the regular varieties. I like to use a combination of oat milk and soy cream because they both have a smooth flavor that lets rhubarb take center stage, but you can also use coconut cream.
  • Substitute 1 teaspoon (5 ml) agar agar for the gelatin. Agar has a stronger setting power than gelatin has, so you don’t need to use as much.
  • In the method, skip the gelatin blooming step and instead whisk together all the ingredients, including the agar-agar, in a saucepan. Bring to a light simmer while whisking to make sure the agar dissolves properly. Divide between serving glasses and refrigerate as indicated.

HOW TO MAKE DAIRY-FREE PANNA COTTA

Substitute plant milk and cream for the regular varieties. I like to use a combination of oat milk and soy cream because they both have a smooth flavor that lets rhubarb take center stage, but you can also use coconut cream.

How to serve rhubarb panna cotta

You can serve panna cotta in cute little glasses as I did on the pictures, or you can serve panna cotta upside down. For a classic look, you can serve this rhubarb panna cotta unmolded, on a plate, with the compote and poached rhubarb spooned to the side. To do so, use ramekins or v-shaped smooth-sided glasses, and very lightly coat the inside of each container with a neutral oil, such as sunflower, canola, or vegetable oil. When ready to serve, run a sharp knife around the edge of the panna cotta, then invert the container over a serving plate and shake it gently. The panna cotta should slip right out.

Rhubarb Panna Cotta // FoodNouveau.com

MORE PANNA COTTA RECIPES

Maple Panna Cotta / Maple & Orange Panna Cotta / Dairy-Free Almond Panna Cotta

Maple Panna Cotta // FoodNouveau.com  Cara Cara Orange and Maple Panna Cotta with Pecan-Maple Crumble // FoodNouveau.com  Almond Panna Cotta with Salted Praline and Macerated Blueberries (Dairy-Free) // FoodNouveau.com

 
Rhubarb Panna Cotta // FoodNouveau.com

Rhubarb Panna Cotta

This rhubarb panna cotta is an easy, dreamily creamy dessert that showcases the sharp, bright taste of rhubarb three different ways.
Prep Time:25 mins
Cook Time:15 mins
Cooling Time:4 hrs
Servings 8 servings
Author Marie Asselin, FoodNouveau.com

Ingredients

For the rhubarb compote

For the rhubarb panna cotta

For the poached rhubarb

For serving

Instructions

  • For the rhubarb compote: In a small saucepan, combine the rhubarb, honey, lemon juice and zest, and vanilla extract. Set over medium-high heat, bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer, stirring from time to time, until the rhubarb is very soft, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. Blend to a very smooth consistency using a stick blender or a stand blender. You should end up with about 1 cup/250 ml) rhubarb compote. Transfer 1/2 cup (125 ml) compote to an airtight jar and refrigerate. Reserve the rest.
  • For the rhubarb panna cotta: Pour 1/2 cup (125 ml) of the milk into a large bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the milk and let rest for 5 minutes (don’t mix—this step allows the gelatin to bloom.)
  • Pour the rest of the milk (1/2 cup/125 ml) and the heavy cream in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the honey, and vanilla extract. Heat over medium heat until you reach a light simmer. Whisk in the reserved rhubarb compote (not the one you refrigerated).
  • Pour the very hot milk mixture over the gelatin and whisk until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Divide the rhubarb panna cotta mixture between 8 small glasses, bowls, or ramekins. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours to set.
  • For the poached rhubarb: In a small saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a simmer, stirring until the sugar is fully dissolved. Stir in the vanilla extract, then add the rhubarb. Simmer for about 5 minutes, or until you can just pierce a piece of rhubarb with the tip of a knife. Be careful not to overcook the rhubarb because you want the stalks to keep their shape.
    Set a strainer over a measuring cup and strain the rhubarb. Refrigerate the syrup for another use (smoothies or cocktails!) and refrigerate the rhubarb pieces in an airtight container until ready to serve the rhubarb panna cotta.
  • To serve: Spoon about 1 tablespoon (15 ml) rhubarb compote over each panna cotta. Top with some poached rhubarb. Sprinkle with crushed pistachios, if desired. Serve and enjoy!
  • MAKE IT DAIRY-FREE: Substitute plant milk and cream for the regular varieties. I like to use a combination of oat milk and soy cream because they both have a smooth flavor that lets rhubarb take center stage, but you can also use coconut cream.
  • MAKE IT VEGAN:
    - Substitute plant milk and cream for the regular varieties. I like to use a combination of oat milk and soy cream because they both have a smooth flavor that lets rhubarb take center stage, but you can also use coconut cream.
    - Substitute 1 teaspoon (5 ml) agar agar for the gelatin. Agar has a stronger setting power than gelatin has, so you don’t need to use as much.
    - In the method, skip the gelatin blooming step and instead whisk together all the ingredients, including the agar-agar, in a saucepan. Bring to a light simmer while whisking to make sure the agar dissolves properly. Divide between serving glasses and refrigerate as indicated.

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Author: Marie Asselin

Prep Time: 25 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Cooling Time: 4 hrs

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