CHOCOLATE AND MINT PANNA COTTA WITHOUT SUGAR
A funny and healthy idea to refresh the hot summer afternoons.
The idea of serving chocolate and mint panna cotta without sugar as if it was a real plant inside a jar was born in Milan a few years ago while I was arranging aromatic herbs on the balcony… I had guests for dinner and I wanted to create something different and nice… and suddenly I saw the image in my mind…
I am sincere in saying that chocolate and mint is one of those combinations that I love and that has accompanied several moments in my life…
The first memory dates back to my childhood when I still ate salt and sugar… I was crazy for After-Eight, do you know them? They are thin square chocolates with a soft mint heart covered with crunchy dark chocolate… They were like a drug… at the time they weren’t something that I could find everywhere so when we stopped in the Autogrill I started looking for their box, not to get it (also because my parents rarely bought them to me) but let’s say just to calm the fear of not finding them anymore…
Or, in the summer, when I went to my grandparents in San Zeno di Montagna on Lake Garda and with them it happened that we went out to eat ice cream at the village bar and obviously my choice always fell on the After-Eight cup, not only because it was my favorite, but because on top of the cup instead of the cherry they always put that wonderful little square that I savored last, tasting it bit by bit.
Having then started eating without sugar and salt, the After-eight have been permanently banned from my life but the love for these two flavors has remained.
I know that some do not like this combination at all. When Dave played the Jolly card just to get to know me I almost refused to prepare the tray with only chocolates of that taste. I was working in a renowned pastry shop in Milan, he came to ask me for personal advice on which chocolate would be perfect for a present, I instinctively replied “if it were for me I would do everything chocolate-mint” but as a gift to a person it could be very risky so I’ve prepared a mixed tray without knowing that that tray would instead be for me… (in one of the next posts I’ll tell you how this love story was born… it seems to come out of the plot of a movie or a Disney fairy tale). But back to us…
How do you prepare this sugar-free chocolate and mint panna cotta?
It is very simple even if it takes a little more time but the highlight is too funny… We will start from the method step by step and at the end, as usual, you will find the summary card with all the doses, ingredients, utensils, etc. that if you want, you can always keep with you… Just use the form to request the PDF file ready to print. If you want, you can share your experiments on social networks or leave your comments at the bottom of this page. For any doubt or uncertainty do not be afraid to contact me.
And now let’s go back to work…
The previous evening we take the mint. We wash it and dry it well, setting aside 8 tufts of about 4cm length and detach the rest of the leaves.
Let’s take a pot and we pour inside the cream, the water and mint leaves. We light the fire and stirring we bring to a boil. Once reached, we lower the heat to low and let it cook for 5 mins, then we turn off the flame completely, cover the pot with a lid, letting it cool and finally we put it in the fridge until the next morning.
Leaving the mint to infuse overnight helps us ensure that our panna cotta takes its flavor naturally without adding syrups or aromas and essences.
After the overnight period we take our pot out of the fridge, filter the flavored cream through a colander into another pot. We place the pot with the filtered cream on the fire and we add the fructose and cocoa mass (or 100% dark chocolate).
As soon as the cream starts to heat up, the cocoa mass (or 100% dark chocolate) will start to melt. We continue to mix to facilitate this process. Once completely dissolved, add the dark cocoa powder. With the help of an immersion blender, blend everything until the cocoa has completely blended with the mixture.
In the meantime, put cold water in a container and soak the gelatine for 5/10 mins until it has softened.
Let’s squeeze it well and add it to the cream on the stove. Turn off the heat and stirring help the gelatine to blend with the other ingredients.
To make these panna cotta I chose plastic jars with lids that I had at home, they reminded me of the shape of a pot for plants. If you don’t have something of this shape you can also use glasses or cups or anything else. which has the size of about 6,5cm (2.5 in) in size 6cm (2.3in) high
At this point we take our jars and with the help of a funnel we pour our panna cotta in equal measure, paying attention to stop 2cm (0.8in) from the edge. Once filled, we leave them to cool to room temperature then we cover them (with the lid or with the plastic wrap) and put them in the refrigerator for at least 5 hours.
In the meantime we prepare the cookies in order to make the soil. Let’s add the flour, cocoa, butter and fructose in a bowl and then start by crumbling the pieces of butter with the other ingredients.
Initially the dough will be very floury and it will seem impossible to work it but do not worry, continue to knead and you will see that in a short time it will change.
Once compacted the dough we form a sausage then we cover it with plastic wrap and we let it rest in the fridge for at least 30 min. While we wait for the dough to be ready, turn on the static oven at 180°C (356°F)
After the necessary time, we take back our sausage, cut it into 1 cm thick slices and place them on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. We bake them for about 20/25 min. When the cookies will be ready, let’s remove the plate from the oven and let them cool.
Once our sugar-free chocolate and mint panna cotta has solidified, we take the jars from the refrigerator and crumble the biscuits inside. Let’s garnish with our sprigs kept aside and serve or put back in the fridge to serve them later.
Do not change fructose with any other sweetener because it will not have the same result. Each sweetener has a different glycemic index and a different sweetening power.
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