Recipe: Chocolate-Hazelnut Panna Cotta
This Valentine’s Day why not take a break from the crowds and the cold with a cozy dinner in the comfort of your own home? We have everything you’ll need to make it a special night for two.
Between local blooms from Dutch Petals to sweet treats from Mast Brothers, Lake Champlain Chocolates, and New York City’s own Nunu and Jacques Torres, as well as our own housemade dark chocolate-dipped long-stem strawberries, we’ve got you covered in the romantic gifts department.
But if you really want to make a big impression this Valentine’s Day, stop by our seafood counter for a little boost in the hors d’oeuvres department: we have fresh East Coast and West Coast oysters as well as a variety of sustainable caviars like Italian Osetra, American Hackleback, and Asian Premier—just the thing to make your evening really shine.
Of course, we dare not forget dessert! We’ve dreamed up a sinfully delicious (and easy as pie) chocolate-hazelnut panna cotta that’s the perfect cap to a decadent Valentine’s Day meal.
Chocolate-Hazelnut Panna Cotta with Spiced Walnuts
3 cups whole milk
1 packet (.25 oz) powdered, unflavored gelatin
3 tbsp cold water
2.5 oz white, granulated sugar
7 oz Nocciolata Organic Hazelnut and Cocoa Spread
8 oz walnut halves
1 large egg white
2 oz granulated white sugar
¼ tsp cinnamon powder
¼ tsp cumin powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp turmeric
Spiced walnuts (recipe follows)
1 cup raspberries
Scatter the powdered gelatin on top of the cold water in a 5-cup bowl and set aside for at least ten minutes to bloom.
Meanwhile, heat the milk and sugar in a medium saucepan until the mixture comes to a slow boil.
Turn off the heat and add the chocolate-hazelnut spread to the pan. Remove from the heat and stir till all of the spread has dissolved.
Pour the warmed milk and chocolate-hazelnut spread into the bowl with the bloomed gelatin.
Using a rubber spatula, stir the mixture steadily and constantly until all of the gelatin has dissolved. You can check on this by rubbing a little bit of the mixture between your fingers—it should be completely smooth without any trace of graininess. This will take at least five minutes, and don’t forget to scrape the bottom of the bowl where grains of gelatin can lurk, undissolved.
To help the mixture cool a little faster, you can place the bowl in a pan filled with ice water. Continue stirring until the mixture has cooled and has started to thicken slightly.
Lightly grease 4 ramekins with a neutral-flavored oil like canola.
Fill the ramekins with the cooled panna cotta mixture. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight to firm up.
To serve, first arrange raspberries and the spiced walnuts on six dessert plates, leaving room in the center of each plate for the unmolded panna cotta.
Heat an inch of water in a wide, shallow pan just until it begins to steam.
Very carefully, place the ramekins in the hot water and let them sit there for 10 seconds or so, just to loosen the panna cotta enough to unmold it. Quickly remove the ramekins from the water and dry the bottom of each one with a kitchen towel.
Working one at a time, invert the ramekins onto the waiting dessert plates and top with additional raspberries and walnuts as desired. Serve immediately.
Using a wire whisk, beat the egg white in a medium mixing bowl for a couple of minutes, or just until it turns frothy.
Add the walnuts to the bowl and toss them in the beaten egg white till they are uniformly coated.
Add the ground spices and sugar and stir to coat the walnuts thoroughly.
Lay a piece of lightly greased parchment paper on a baking sheet. Spread the walnut mixture evenly onto the prepared parchment.
Bake in a 300°F oven for 15–20 minutes, mixing the walnuts with a heatproof spatula every 5 minutes or so. Take care not to let the walnuts get too brown.
Once the walnuts are golden brown, remove them from the oven and set aside to cool on the baking sheet. The nuts will still be slightly tacky when they come out of the oven, but the coating will harden up as they cool.
Once the nuts have cooled, you can store them in an airtight container until ready to use. Break them into smaller pieces before using.