Creamy and complex, this nigori sake-infused panna cotta pairs perfectly with the sweet yet tart blueberry reduction. Truly a “greater than the sum of its parts” experience.
Panna cotta, a sweetened cream thickened with gelatin, is a dessert of Italian origin. The result is a silky custard-like dessert that pairs well with fruit compotes. The cream will often have other flavours added to it. To give this panna cotta a character all of its own, we reached around to the other side of the world for some Japanese magic – nigori sake.
Nigori sake is unfiltered. It contains rice solids that have not been fermented. Nigori sake is milky white; nigori literally meaning “cloudy”. These creamy rice solids, together with sake’s astringent and savoury/umami flavour, are what makes nigori sake such a perfect ingredient for a panna cotta.
The final ingredient that gives this panna cotta a particularly unique flavour is the creme fraiche (or sour cream). While adding to the creaminess, the creme fraiche also imparts a tanginess to balance the richness of the cream.
Blueberry reductions are something so very delectable. They work wonderfully in a dessert, like this gin and tonic ice cream with blueberry reduction. Also, they are just as good as a sweet/tart component to complement a savoury dish, like this pork belly with blueberry reduction. Blueberries are a favourite on delectabilia.
Sake panna cotta with a blueberry reduction
- 500 ml whipping cream heavy cream
- 200 ml nigori sake or any good sake if you cannot get a nigori style sake
- 200 mg creme fraiche or sour cream
- 4 gelatin leaves or 7 g powdered gelatin
- 1/2 cup sugar
- pinch salt
- 250 g blueberries
- 3 Tbsp sake or soju
- 1 Tbsp liquid honey or maple syrup, or sugar
- To a medium saucepan, add the sake and gelatin sheets or powder. Allow to sit for 10 minutes as the gelatin rehydrates.
- Add the sugar to the sake and place over a low heat. Stir until the sugar and gelatin have dissolved.
- Increase the heat to medium to bring the sake to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes to evaporate off most of the alcohol. Do not boil.
- Add the cream and pinch of salt and bring back to a simmer. Simmer for another couple of minutes. Again, do not boil.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
- Add the cream fraiche and the cream mixture to a large bowl and whisk until the creme fraiche is integrated.
- Divide the mixture into appropriate glasses or ramekins. Fill them about half full. Top with some plastic wrap to avoid fridge smells.
- Once cool enough, place them in the refrigerator and refrigerate until set, 4-6 hours. Best do the day before and refrigerate overnight.
- Wash the blueberries.
- In a pan over a low heat, reduce the blueberries together with the sake/soju and honey/sugar until they are just starting to break down. About 15 minutes.
- Allow to cool. They will thicken a little as they cool.
- Top each glass or ramekin of panna cotta with a couple of Tbsp of blueberry reduction and serve.