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Apple Pectin Panna Cotta with Apple Sauce

Updated: Feb 12, 2023


Panna Cotta with Apple Sauce, made using homemade apple pectin instead of gelatine so as to be vegetarian. Image to accompany recipe on food blog Forays into Food.

I started making my own apple pectin last year, and have used it a couple of times for jellies (like my Lemon and Ginger Chilli Jelly). Apple pectin is entirely naturally occurring in apples, and in the presence of sugar, it helps gel things. I wondered if it would be possible to use pectin instead of gelatine in other things, like Panna Cotta. I do like panna cotta and like playing around with flavours for it occasionally (like my lemon-topped one, or my savoury lemongrass and coconut one!). I was a little worried that the pectin would both flavour and colour the panna cotta as it is a pink colour. As for the flavour, I decided to run with it and pair it with applesauce. The idea has been bouncing around for a little while and I finally decided to try it.


 

Recipe

Cook time: 20-30 minutes + chill time 4 hours to overnight -- Portions: 4 -- Difficulty: Easy


Ingredients:

2c cream

3 tbsp brown sugar

1 c apple sauce

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp allspice


1) Pour cream and pectin into a saucepan and heat slowly. Stir in sugar. Bring to a slow simmer and cook for about 15 minutes.


2) Mix the cinnamon and allspice into the applesauce and spoon it into the bottom of 4 or 5 glasses. Gently pour the cream mixture over the top of the apple sauce and chill overnight in the fridge.


 

This worked. Ish. Better than I had feared but not as well as I had hoped. I initially started with 1 c pectin, but while the cream did thicken, it didn't gel. I poured it all (apple sauce included as I couldn't seem to get just the cream) back into a saucepan, and added the third tablespoon of sugar and another cup of pectin. I cooked it again and chilled it again. This time it worked! The cream was the right consistency for panna cotta, and absolutely delicious, with little bits of apple and lots of spice caught in it. The only problem was that the cream was a solid layer on top of a layer of juice. I don't know if it was from the apple sauce or from the pectin, or a little of each, but as soon as we started eating the panna cotta, the juice seeped up and mixed with the cream, and it was all a liquidy mess. Next time, I think I need to reduce both the apple sauce and the pectin a bit further to prevent that. It was still tasty though! So very tasty!


Science experiment successful though. Pectin works to gel things other than jellies, as a replacement for gelatine. With some caveats! The other issue with using homemade pectin, scientifically speaking, is that it is not going to be a uniform strength. What took 2 cups of pectin this time might take 1 1/2 or 3 next time, there is no real way to know... I guess I will just have to play that one by ear. Luckily, that is how most of my cooking happens, so I'm ok with that. Also, it didn't turn pink, but was a little coloured by the spices. I will have to try this one again, with reduced ingredients, to see how it goes then. Served in little glasses, I think this could work quite nicely as a party food!

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