Firstly, apologies to my fellow bakers for waiting until the 2nd of June to get this post up! I’ve been a little under the weather over the past couple of days, so today was the first chance I’ve had to get down to business. As a special side note, I’d also like to wish my parents a very, very Happy 39th (yes, 39th!) Anniversary! Incredible, right?
But without further ado, welcome to another wonderful month of Miettes! This month we tackled Buttermilk Panna Cotta and another wonderful round of wonderful, talented bloggers have joined me. Wonderful! I’m always so grateful to be in such excellent company, and to be testing these recipes alongside such gifted bakers.
Not to be missed! Though she wasn’t able to join us this month, my lovely friend Kathy of Eat Halifax joined us just after the fact in April, with these beautiful lemon tarts.
Panna Cotta, Chez Moi
I started making homemade vanilla extract at the beginning of March, so this was actually the very first time I dared to open the bottle and use the treasures inside! Back then, I had gotten 8 Madagascar Vanilla Beans from the wonderful Costas, who sells Épices de Cru at the Brewery Market in Halifax. He sells 8 of his vanilla beans for just $10, which is truly an incredible deal. I knew I had to do something special with them, but while I was figuring out what that would be, I thought it would be wise to preserve them. And how genius is homemade vanilla extract for that kind of multi-tasking? Pop those beans in a 40 of rum and you’re good to go, you just need a little patience.
While waiting for the milk and vanilla bean scrapings to boil for the panna cotta, I allowed the sectioned off pod to sit in the liquid, too, in order to squeeze out as much vanilla flavour as I could. I then fished it out right before adding the gelatin mixture.
My panna cottas set perfectly, but make no mistake: this was not intentional! It was sheer luck. Being a gelatin novice, I accidentally put an entire packet in, misreading the instructions on the package. It only occurred to me after the fact, thankfully, or I might have thrown the whole lot out! Also, I made them in the morning, and didn’t get a chance to enjoy them until the following day in the evening (saving one for breakfast the next day, of course!), so they were setting for about 36 hours before ever seeing the light of day. Had I let them set in more practical jars or bowls, they definitely could have been unmoulded.
I have some theories. Did anyone else use small enough containers to make 16 servings, as the recipe suggests? For me, I could only fill 2 small and 2 small, wide-mouth mason jars, with no liquid left over. My guess is that Meg used teeny, tiny little pots (in order to get 16 servings), which would lend to her ‘smaller is better’ – Miette – way of doing things. It’s likely that these little pots set perfectly overnight, but any bigger (like many of us used), and you’d probably need much more time, or much more gelatin, to make it set.
I wish I could say there was something intentional or strategic about the way I made my panna cotta, but after seeing the results, and then reading about some others’ difficulties having their panna cotta set, this is the only way I could make sense of it. Granted, I have no idea how long everyone else let theirs set. So what do you think? When using gelatin, should the size of container matter if the formula is correct? A little bit of gelatin did accumulate at the bottom of my jars, and having so little experience with it, I didn’t know whether that was normal or whether it was because I did, in fact, use too much gelatin in the first place.
Set or not, I think everyone agreed that the flavour and creaminess of Miette’s panna cotta was to die for. I was tempted to eat them without garnish of any kind, not wanting to cover up those sweet speckles of vanilla bean sprinkled over their tops! In the end, I opted for a little bundle of raspberries and blackberries to go along with them.
Want to bake along with us?
It’s time to step it up a notch, friends! June’s challenge is PARISIAN MACARONS on page 145.
If you’re anything like me, it’s the day that you’ve been both wildly anticipating and dreading all at the same time! This will be my very first time attempting to make macarons at home, so wish me luck. There are plenty of variations, too: You can choose from Lemon, Grapefruit, Rose Geranium, Pistachio, Coffee, Hazelnut, Chocolate, or Chocolate-Orange. Or, if you’re feeling particularly brave, dream up your own flavour combination!
The rules are simple!
1) Buy Miette. It will be the prettiest, daintiest addition to your kitchen/bookshelf.
2) Bake the challenge of the month and post about it on your blog/website by the 25th. Our challenge for June is the Parisian Macaron – due June 25th, 2012.
3) Grab a macaron or two for breakfast (as often or as seldom as you wish, but at least once!), photograph it, and enjoy this little morning ritual to the fullest.
4) Link back to the original post please and thanks! (And if you’re tweeting about it, use #monthlymiettes.)
Leave me a comment below if you would like to participate and/or if your post is up!
Happy baking (and macaron-making)!