Panna Cotta (Milk and Caramel Custard)
From The Timeless Art of Italian Cuisine, by Anna Maria
For the Caramel
1/2 Cup (100 gr) sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons. water, hot
For the Panna
1 cup (230 cc) milk
1 envelope unflavored gelatin powder
2 cups (460 cc) heavy cream
1 slice of lemon peel
1 piece of cinnamon stick
1/4 cup (50 gr) sugar
Preparing the Caramel
In a small saucepan, put the sugar and lemon juice. Mix very well together with a metal spoon, and place over low heat.
Stir the sugar-juice once in a while until it becomes dark gold and begins smoking.
Add hot water, bring it to a boil, and remove the pan from the heat.
Pout the caramel into a round mould approximately 7 inches in diameter (18 cm) and 2 inches deep (5 cm).
Swirl the mould in all directions so that the caramel covers bottom and sides.
Preparing the Panna
Pour the milk into a small bowl and add the gelatin powder. Let it soak for about 5 minutes.
In a saucepan, put the cream, lemon rind, cinnamon, and sugar.
Turn the heat to medium and bring to a simmer. Remove it from the heat and set it aside for about 10 minutes.
Remove the lemon peel and the cinnamon stick, add the milk-gelatin mix, return it to the stove. Stirring, bring to a boil.
As soon as the cream starts boiling, remove the pan from heat, pour the mixture into the mould, and let it cool at room temperature.
Keep it in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours (better if overnight) before serving.
To unmould it, place the mould for few seconds in very hot water. If necessary, insert a knife all around between the mould and the cream to detach it from the walls. Invert onto a serving plate.