The Journey of Italian Dolci: Panna Cotta

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At first sight, Panna Cotta may look like any ordinary pudding, but there is much more to it than meets the eye: this creamy white tower-shaped dessert drizzled with special sauce is the ultimate creamy pudding. It’s been dubbed as one of the most indulgent delights of traditional Italian cuisine. There will always be sufficient space left in the panza (stomach) for a light panna cotta to finish the meal!

The mark of a perfectly executed panna cotta is its stability. The challenge for pastry chefs is to reduce the quantity of thickener as much as possible while preserving consistency and creaminess.

This sweet, silky delicacy is very famous in Italy—a dessert that every restaurant serves. The name panna cotta was not mentioned in Italian cookbooks before the 1960s until a famous chef, Ettore Songia, offered panna cotta on the menu for his restaurant. According to one story the dessert was invented by a Hungarian woman who lived in Italy at the beginning of the 20th Century. Piedmont includes panna cotta in its 2001 list of traditional food products of the region.

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