Primordial Jelly: The Magic of Gelatin


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I live in the land of expensive food boutiques that sell absolutely nothing practical and can only exist in a place that is wealthy enough to view food as mere entertainment. Either way, some of them actually have some decent house-made cured meats and other delights. One of my favorites is BKLYN Larder and what they have that is truly outstanding is gelato made with high-quality dairy and very little sugar. Occasionally other shoppers have remarked to me that they are not fans of flavors like Fior De Latte, which tastes mainly of bright fresh cream, or honey-mascarpone, because they don't taste much like desserts. That's obviously OK with me since my usually low-sugar diet has made my tastebuds more sensitive to sweet. I also like the fact that the dairy, rather than the sugar, is the showpiece here. Good dairy by itself isn't appreciated enough, which is sad because there is a massive taste advantage for quality fresh dairy like milk, ricotta, mascarpone, sour cream, or yogurt. I don't do dairy very often, but when I do I made sure it tastes like grassy fields speckled with yellow wildflowers.

I unfortunately got the idea to do Panna Cotta because there is something wrong with my freezer and it won't freeze my ice cream cylinder very well, leaving me with some very cold slush when I last attempted a batch. I had another batch to do and decided to just eat it as it was in the fridge. I use gelatin in my ice creams and it had become a very nice jelly. If you believe the Weston A. Price foundation, gelatin is also very good for your skin and digestion.

At a local restaurant, Thistle Hill, I had a goat's milk pannacotta recently and decided to attempt one myself. It was fairly easy and also allowed me to use up some crappy nectarines that weren't ripening. The texture of the pannacotta allows the creamy dairy flavor to linger on your tongue enough to really taste the butterfat. It's a delight to eat.

Panna Cotta:

1 teaspoons unflavored gelatin

2 cups good whole milk or coconut milk

.5 cup heavy cream or coconut cream

a few drops of stevia or a little maple syrup/honey to taste, plus a dash of vanilla

1. Place 1/4 cup water in a bowl, sprinkle with gelatin, let set for 5 minutes

2. Heat up dairy in saucepan until just about to boil, turn off heat, flavor with sweet and vanilla to taste, add gelatin mixture and let dissolve for 5 minutes

3. Pour through sieve into a bowl set in ice water bath (i'm not sure this actually does anything...)

4. Set in fridge

Fruit Jelly

I just made this up myself with the fruit I had on hand. I boiled some sliced nectarines until the flesh broke down (about 15 minutes), blended them, and added a gelatin mixture described in step one of the panna cotta. Then I set up the jelly in fridge. Thankfully gelatin is pretty forgiving.