Monday, May 4, 2009

Saffron Panna Cotta with Rhubarb Marmellata

Last Tuesday, I was reading a post on Cooked Books when I had to stop everything. You see, Rebecca mentioned that there’s a recipe archive on Babbo’s web site. Well, that set off a flurry of clicks, and I couldn’t get my printer flicked on fast enough. Babbo’s recipes are right there, ordered alphabetically, free for all. I don’t know how often the archive is updated or how complete it is or isn’t, but I quickly found several recipes to stack on top of my to-cook pile. The first of those was this panna cotta with rhubarb from Gina DePalma.

Part two of this story is that I had never before in my life cooked rhubarb. I have no excuse either, so it is clearly my Mom’s fault. She never cooked rhubarb that I remember, so I had no history with it at home. I’ve eaten it but never cooked it or had it at home. I had no idea what I was missing. It’s so easy, and it just makes a nice, thick sauce all by itself. And, now there’s sure to be rhubarb in my kitchen each time it’s in season. For this marmellata, it was chopped in one-quarter inch thick slices and cooked until soft with sugar and the scrapings of a vanilla bean. That was allowed to cool. For the panna cotta, gelatin sheets were softened while cream, sugar, lemon zest, and saffron threads were brought to a boil in a saucepan. That was left to steep for 10 minutes before the gelatin sheets were squeezed and added. Once the gelatin dissolved, the mixture was poured through a sieve, milk was added, and this was poured into ramekins. The ramekins were chilled until set.

To serve, the panna cotta was gracefully turned out of the ramekins, and the rhubarb marmellata was spooned on top. In reality, as I plopped the first serving out of its ramekin, it of course fell apart and broke into blobs on the plate. I had to try two more times before getting a photogenic one. All of this meant that we ended up with three desserts on plates for two people, and we didn’t mind that at all. I was feeling very full after dessert but happily so. I really love the unique flavor of saffron and with the lemon zest, the panna cotta was divine. The rhubarb topping which was thickened just enough all on its own, with its sweet and tart character and underlying vanilla, was a perfect match.


29 comments:

  1. This sounds so interesting! I just cooked with rhubarb for the first time a few weeks ago. Saffron plus rhubarb is quite the combination!

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  2. This sounds great. I imagine the tanginess of the rhubarb would go great with the muskiness of the saffron. I want to eat this right now.

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  3. What an amazing post! Your pictures are so vivid.

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  4. Then, I will blame my Mom too, because she never made it when I was growing up and I have NEVER had rhubarb before!

    I've seen so many great recipes for it lately, I have to try it!

    Thanks for posting that!

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  5. that rhubarb marmelade sounds amazing!!

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  6. This looks amazing! We're big rhubarb fans in this house, in fact, we even have a rhubarb plant in the yard.

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  7. I've seen quite a few rhubarb recipes lately. I think it's time i make something with it. Looks delish!!

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  8. This sounds great. I don't love rhubarb but with the other flavors to balance the tang it sounds very appealing!

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  9. Your panna cotta look really delicious Lisa. I like the vibrant color too.

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  10. What a great use of saffron. Beautiful colours :)

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  11. Wow Lisa this is freaking a winner! So many people have taken rhubarb to new heights, and this is definitely on the top of my list of perfection!

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  12. This is interesting...saffron and rhubarb. I've never cooked rhubard too, should really try it one day.

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  13. The saffron panna cotta sounds amazing and so wonderful with rhubarb! Beautiful dessert!

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  14. Now THAT is an inventive dessert! How amazing is that!

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  15. i know nothing of rhubarb, marmellata, or panna cotta, and i, too, blame my mother. :)
    what a gorgeous dessert, lisa--great find!

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  16. the flavors in this panna cotta sound great....I am intrigued by the saffron ....and a dessert and a half for two - whats the problem?

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  17. I've read about rhubarb several times in blogs, and I get really curious about it. Unfortunately I don't have any idea of its taste as we don't have it here in Turkey. This dessert looks fantastic, I just want to get a bite. But knowing that I can't try it makes me really upset.

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  18. I love saffron and this panacotta sounds delicious, I love the idea

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  19. Thanks for the link. There's so many recipes that I want to try. I love rhubard. I just made rhubard compote over the week-end.

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  20. The saffron panna cotta sounds amazing and to add the flavors of rhubarb wow - looking forward to trying.

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  21. wow so fragrant and so tangy, I will definitely be in love with your panna cotta! just awesome! over here rhubarb is difficult to find and expensive!

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  22. The colors in this are just gorgeous. I'm a big panna cotta fan because you can almost convince yourself it's healthy since it doesn't have egg yolks.

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  23. Hi Lisa,
    My heart melt on your panna cotta!
    What a delicious dessert

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  24. Oh, this is incredibly beautiful!What a scrumptious treat.

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  25. I don't particularly like Panna Cotta, but this sounds divine. I think I'll have to try it.
    And the scroll-down on your blog is just unbelievable today. Everything made my mouth water, the bread, the scones, the benedict bars. Yum Yum Yum.

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  26. It may have taken several tries to get a photogenic panna cotta but when you did - wow! How come my rhubarb sauces never looks this vibrant? I would happily have a dessert and half of this!

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  27. Last time I made panna cotta it was not that successful, I have to tried again. Yours is lovely as always : )

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  28. I adore a good panna cotta & yours looks sublime!! i love the addtion of the rhubarb on the side!!!
    Delicious, my friend!!

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  29. I love the rhubarb, it looks so beautiful against the white of the panna cotta - now to just get my hands on some *sigh*

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