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Panna Cotta Brain

on October 31, 2011 - 9:23am

My first experiment with a brain mould: a classic panna cotta dessert.

Ingredients for the brain:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 5 teaspoons unflavored gelatin *
  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 2 Tablespoons vanilla

Ingredients for the sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons of jam
  • Approx. 1 cup pomegranate or blueberry juice

*The original recipe called for 5 teaspoons of gelatin, but this didn't match the gelatin/liquid ratio suggested on the back of my gelatin packets. I decided to go with the box suggestions and increased the amount of gelatin by 2 or 3 more teaspoons. Use your best judgement.

The Brain:

1. Place milk in a small bowl and sprinkle gelatin over the top. Stir and let sit for five minutes to allow the gelatin to rehydrate.

2. Combine cream and sugar in a pan and slowly bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir occasionally to prevent cream from burning on the bottom of the pan.

3. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and salt.

4. Add the gelatin & milk mixture to the cream. Stir until combined.

5. I found a bowl that was large enough for the brain to fit into (when inverted), but small enough that the lip of the mould sat over the edge of the bowl, keeping it in place. You could also use a towel in a bowl/container to create a nest for your brain mould.

6. With your brain mould greased and firmly nestled, pour mixture into it, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

7. To unmould, dip the bottom of the mould into warm water. Gently pull at the sides of the mould so the panna cotta pulls away a little. Cover the opening of the mould with a plate/platter and flip over so the brain comes out onto the plate.

The Bloody Sauce:

If you don't have juice, you can use water and it will still be very tasty. I often make this syrup just with water and jam.

Over low-med heat, warm the jam in a small sauce pot. Stir. Keep an eye on this and heat until the jam starts breaking down a little.

Add your juice and stir. Simmer this until the mixture starts to reduce and thickens.

If it get too thick, add more juice or water. If it gets too thin, add more jam.

Let cool! I poured it over top when the sauce was still warm and it melted some of the details on the brain.