Milk It

Custard comes alive with buttermilk and cacao nibs

A fine panna cotta is an Italian restaurant's best way to leave a lasting impression on its diners (just as a poor one won't earn many repeat customers). At his new osteria, Lucia, Dallas chef David Uygur puts a fresh twist on the classic dessert by combining the tang of buttermilk with creamy milk chocolate. To play off the chocolate's sweetness, he sprinkles the dish with bittersweet cacao nibs, and he brings out the lingering chocolate flavor with a saline hit of fleur de sel. Subtle and slightly tart, this panna cotta is the ideal coda for your next Italian feast at home.

Recipe adapted from David Uygur, Lucia, Dallas, TX

Milk Chocolate Panna Cotta With Cocoa Nibs
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Tangy milk chocolate panna cotta with cocoa nibs from Dallas' Lucia.
Servings
12
servings
Ingredients
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1½ teaspoons granulated gelatin (or 6 gelatin sheets)
  • ¾ pound high-quality milk chocolate
  • 1 quart buttermilk
  • Sweetened whipped cream, for serving
  • Cacao nibs, for serving
  • Fleur de sel, for serving
Directions
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the cream, sugar, vanilla and a pinch of salt over medium-high heat until just below simmering. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to steep for 30 minutes.
  2. Bloom the gelatin by soaking it in ½ cup cold water for 5 minutes. Add the bloomed gelatin to the cream mixture and bring to a boil.
  3. Carefully strain the hot cream mixture through a fine-mesh sieve placed over a blender. Slowly add the chocolate, blending on a low speed until incorporated. Place the buttermilk in a large bowl and strain the chocolate-cream mixture through into the milk, then stir until incorporated. Let the mixture come to room temperature, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.
  4. Divide the mixture into 12 four-ounce ramekins; cover each with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or up to overnight.
  5. To serve, top the panna cottas with whipped cream, cacao nibs and a pinch of fleur de sel.
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