Channar Payesh Pannacotta

By • February 23, 2011 8 Comments

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Author Notes: My old friend from school, Fanny celebrated her birthday yesterday and when I posted my greetings on her FB page, pat came her reply, so where's my dessert? Now its hard to refuse a birthday wish for anyone, & especially not for such a bubbly, sunny & cheerful character like her, so this was created keeping in mind the roman catholic traditions that she was born into and by marriage, the culture of West Bengal that she has so wonderfully assimilated.

Pannacotta is the Italian name for cooked cream, or so says wikipedia! I've never ever tried making this before & it was such a relief to find that it was ridiculously easy to concoct!

Chenna or channa refers to the milk solids obtained by curdling milk. West Bengal holds the distinction of producing some of the most scrumptious desserts in Indian cuisine and a large number of them use milk solids as the chief ingredient. It gives the dessert a soft yet distinct mouth feel reminiscent of cheesecake.

PS: As per Amanda's instructions, it does not contain any bread, rice or steaming process, In fact, the thickening agent used, Agar, is not even on her list of thickeners!! ;-)

Makes 4

  • 2 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 lemon or lime, juiced
  • 1/2 cup condensed milk
  • 4-5 pods cardamom seeds, powdered
  • 2 tablespoons agar flakes
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 7-8 pistachios, slivered for garnishing
  • Candied orange peel for garnishing
  • A dashes unsalted butter for rubbing inside the serving bowls
  1. Rub the base and walls of the individual serving cups with unsalted butter.
  2. In a pan boil 2 cups of milk till its scalding hot & rises. Add the lime juice and immediately remove from stove. Stir well and set aside.
  3. After 5 minutes strain out the milk solids, squeezing out the whey completely.
  4. Transfer solids into a mixing bowl, add cardamom powder and rub between the fingers till the consistency resembles that of bread crumbs. Set aside.
  5. Combine 1/2 cup condensed milk and the remaining 1/4 cup of fresh milk well to make into a smooth creamy consistency. Add the milk solids and combine till mixed evenly. Set aside.
  6. In a pan heat the water and add the agar flakes. Bring to a boil, ensuring that the agar flakes have completely dissolved.
  7. Combine the agar and the condensed milk mixture stirring well to ensure even, complete mixing.
  8. Distribute evenly into the individual cups, cover, and place in refrigerator to set. (~ 1 hr)
  9. To serve, simply remove cover, garnish with the candied orange peel & pistachios and serve.
  10. Alternatively, insert a thin blade knife between the pannacotta and the cup to dislodge, Invert onto a plate (jiggling the cup to ensure a clean transfer). Garnish with slivered Pistachios & candied orange peel ( or freestyle caramelized sugar threads!)

More Great Recipes: Desserts

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