Panna cotta con le nocciole
The creamy texture and nutty taste of panna cotta con le nocciole instantly takes me back to long hikes among the vineyards and dotted hazel tree fields of Piedmont.
Sometimes when you revisit old cookbooks you stumble over recipes that have been sadly overlooked. Like this panda cotta with hazelnuts I found in Marcella Cucina from 1997 by Marcella Hazan. She cites Walter Ferretto of Cascinale Nuovo in Piedmont as the inventor of the dessert, which unites friendly panna cotta with dark caramel and cream of toasted hazelnuts. In my opinion it is absolutely delicious. I have reduced the sugar and made some other minor adaptations to the original recipe.
100 g whole shelled hazelnuts
60 g caster sugar
250 ml double cream
100 ml milk
1 tbsp powdered sugar
2 sheets (3.4 g) of gelatine
Caramel of 100 g caster sugar and 2 tbsp water.
Preheat the oven to 200 C / 400 F and toast the hazelnuts spread out on a baking sheet for 7-10 minutes until the skin starts to darken
Leave the gelatine to soak in cold water.
Put the toasted nuts in a wire strainer and chafe away most of the skin by driving the nuts against the sides of the strainer.
Put the hazelnuts in a blender with the caster sugar, and blend to a creamy paste.
Start making the caramel by putting sugar and water in a saucepan and melting it over medium heat. After some time the sugar melts and turns brown. Remove the caramel from the heat and pour it into 4 ramekins.
Meanwhile, bring cream, milk and powdered sugar to a low boil, stirring steadily.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the softened gelatine without excess water.
Add the pureed hazelnuts and stir thoroughly to keep them from forming lumps.
When the milky mixture has cooled to room temperature, stir one last time and pour it over the caramel in the ramekins.
Refrigerate for 4 hours – or preferably overnight.
When ready to serve, bring water to simmer in a small frying pan.
Loosen the custard sides from the ramekin using a knife blade.
Put the ramekin bottom down in the water for a few seconds
Turn the ramekins over on to individual serving plates and shake to unmould the your homemade version of panna cotta con le nocciole.