I have been thinking about making panna cotta for a long time and this is the result of my first attempt. It is creamy, a little smoky, and incredibly decadent. The bits of ground espresso that end up in your cup (or ramekin) make a rich dark top to your panna cotta. —gingerroot
BEGIN ONE DAY AHEAD:
In a saucepan, combine cream, cardamom pods, sugar and espresso. Bring to a simmer; cook for 5 minutes, whisking to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat and transfer to a glass measuring cup, let mixture sit for one hour. Cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the fridge overnight.
In a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over cold water. Without stirring, allow mixture to sit for five minutes.
Meanwhile, pour chilled cream mixture through a sieve into a saucepan. I wanted to get the most mileage out of my cardamom pods, so I picked them out of the sieve and popped them back into the pot. Use a spatula to help push out all the cream (its okay if some of the espresso ends up back in the pot). Bring mixture to a simmer, add gelatin, whisking constantly to dissolve. Cook for a minute more.
Add milk and remaining cream (or half and half), bring to a simmer, whisking to combine. Cook for a minute more.
Strain mixture through a sieve set over a glass measuring cup. Allow mixture to cool for a bit. While mixture is cooling, prepare six ramekins or coffee cups by spraying with non-stick spray. Evenly divide mixture into cups, scraping the sides of the measuring cup with a spatula. Cover each with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
Enjoy straight out of ramekins or cups, or to release panna cotta, run a sharp knife around edge of container and briefly dip bottom into a bowl of hot water. Carefully invert onto a plate and serve.
My most vivid childhood memories have to do with family and food. As a kid, I had the good fortune of having a mom who always encouraged trying new things, and two grandmothers who invited me into their kitchens at a young age. I enjoy cooking for the joy it brings me - sharing food with loved ones - and as a stress release. I turn to it equally during good times and bad. Now that I have two young children, I try to be conscientious about what we cook and eat. Right about the time I joined food52, I planted my first raised bed garden and joined a CSA; between the two I try to cook as sustainably and organically as I can. Although I'm usually cooking alone, my children are my favorite kitchen companions and I love cooking with them. I hope when they are grown they will look back fondly at our time spent in the kitchen, as they teach their loved ones about food-love.
Best of all, after years on the mainland for college and graduate school, I get to eat and cook and raise my children in my hometown of Honolulu, HI. When I'm not cooking, I am helping others grow their own organic food or teaching schoolchildren about art.