Vanilla Panna Cotta with Rasberry Purée and Vanilla Ice Cream

Vanilla Panna Cotta with Rasberry Purée and Vanilla Ice Cream

Every once in awhile, the NyonyaCelup gets a lil’ grandiose and thinks that she possesses the cooking & presentation skills of a fine chef.

It also doesn’t help that she stumbles onto blogs such as Mr. & Mrs. Eat A Duck’s — with their mouth-watering food & picture perfect photography — from time to time.

So it was only natural, when I decided to make about a dozen or so panna cottas earlier this week, that I’d look to them for inspiration
& attempt something that required less culinary skill, but equally stunning (visually).

The result were, predictably, disastrous.

Vanilla Panna Cotta with Raspberry Purée & Vanilla Ice Cream

Maybe I need to work on my spatial skills first…

What went wrong?
You mean, besides my apparent lack of spatial awareness…
How do I even begin?!

Melting quenelle

Melting quenelle. *sigh*
I blame the hellishly hot Malaysian weather for this.

Not content to scoop my ice cream out normally, I decided to give quenelle-ing a try.
Chef Patrick Fahy (then from Blackbird, Chicago) made it look so easy in this video — made possible by Leela of SheSimmers — so I thought to myself: Piece of cake!

It was a misadventure from its inception.
The tubs and tubs and tubs of homemade vanilla ice cream — courtesy of 6 batches of (failed and successful) macarons, 1 batch of meringue cookies, and a pavlova — which had been lying in my fridge, had mysteriously disappeared when I needed them most.
The Baba denies all culpability. 

Left with only RM5 amongst ourselves, we set out to buy the smallest and the cheapest tub of ice cream.

I could blame the fact that it was a cheap tub of ice cream
— and I am more determined than ever to never eat any of that synthetically flavoured *yuck* ever again —
or the fact that Malaysia seems to have turned into a giant oven of late;
but my quenelles just wouldn’t stay in shape.
Not that they were very well formed to begin with. 😦

But on a brighter note, my panna cotta turned out exceptionally well.

As did the raspberry purée.

Regardless of how badly the ensemble turned out, I will be posting the individual recipes for this dessert,
vanilla ice cream included; because nobody should be subjected to the crap that is synthetic vanilla ice cream.
It just tastes so wrong.

Vanilla Ice Cream

I’ve posted this recipe before here;
but it was written at a time before I had easy access to vanilla pods, using synthetic vanilla essence as a substitute.
I was desperate!
I think it’s time we made it with the real thing, don’t you? 😉 


♣ 6 (large) egg yolks
– I usually separate them in the egg shells.
Takes a bit of practice, but I get better results compared to those plastic egg separator thingamajigs.
Use of two separate bowls: one to separate, and the other to store the whites in.
♣ 750 ml of whipping cream
Geek note → As I have previously mentioned, the complex flavour of vanilla is made out of 200+ aromatic compounds.
These organic compounds extract best in fat / alcohol.
So don’t skimp on the fat content for your cream. 😉
♣ 70 g of vanilla sugar
– Castor sugar that you’ve buried used / new pods in.
In its absence, plain ole’ castor sugar will do, intensity in flavour is almost negligible.
♣ 1 vanilla pod
 2 tbsp natural vanilla extract


♦ Pour cream into a bowl.
♦ Split vanilla pod lengthwise and scrape caviar out.
♦ Add both to cream and place in fridge for 1 hour.
Purpose is to allow maximal infusion of the vanilla compounds into the cream.
♦ Once ready, pour eggs, sugar, and vanilla essence into a bowl and mix thoroughly till all the sugar is dissolved.

♦ Add the cream in bit by bit, all the while continuing to mix the mixture (see what I meant by making your job easier).
♦ Once you’ve reached a custard-y consistency, fish vanilla pod out.
♦ Pour mixture into a container and freeze overnight.

Prep time: 1 hr 15 mins
Freeze time: I usually leave it overnight
Makes: 750-800 ml

Vanilla bounty!

Vanilla bounty!
My local baking supplies store started selling grade B vanilla pods recently.
Buy in bulk for a better price. 🙂

Vanilla bounty!

Vanill pod & caviar

Vanilla Panna Cotta

Adapted from David Lebovitz, who in turn adapted it from Judy Witts.

Vanilla panna cotta with raspberry purée

Vanilla panna cotta with raspberry purée


500 ml heavy cream
In Malaysia, I am aware that this can be difficult.
As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, whipping cream — with its fat content of 33.5-35% — is acceptable,
but I personally use Pritchitt’s Milac Dairy Whipping Cream with 38% fat. 
40 g vanilla sugar
♣ 1 vanilla pod
♣ 2 tsps powdered gelatin
♣ 45 ml cold water


♦ Heat cream and sugar in a heavy saucepan over a low flame till edges bubble. Remove.
♦ Split vanilla pod lengthwise and scrape caviar out.
♦ Add both to cream mixture, cover, & allow to infuse for 30 mins.
♦ Oil your panna cotta moulds with a neutral tasting oil. Yes, olive oil is out. 
If opting to serve from the containers — like I did — skip this step.
♦ Pour cold water into a bowl — bigger the better for a larger surface area — and sprinkle gelatin onto surface.
Stand for 10 mins.
♦ Add to warm cream mixture and stir till all the gelatin is dissolved.
I had to rewarm my cream slightly.
♦  Pour into moulds and refrigerate for 4 hours.

Prep time: 45 mins
Chill time: 4 hours
Makes: 9 100cc dessert cups

Raspberry Purée

Adapted from Wolfgang Puck‘s recipe.


1 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
– If you can find fresh raspberries in Malaysia, power to you.
juice from 1/2 a lemon
Heads up, I like mine a lil’ sour.
 ♣ sugar to taste


♦ Place raspberries in a (preferably) glass saucepan.
Stainless steel is ok, but I still think it imparts a metallic taste to the final product, IMHO.
♦ Heat over low flame till berries have reduced into a juicy mush.
♦ Add lemon juice.
♦ Stir sugar in and remove from flame.
♦ Once cooled slightly, strain through a medium sieve (I like having some seeds in mine) to remove seeds,
making sure to extract as much of the purée as possible.
♦ Chill for 2 hours.

Prep time: 15 mins
Chill time: 2 hours
Makes: Covers 9 100cc dessert cups generously

Once you’ve got all your individual dishes ready, you can assemble them and serve.
And since I’m an exceptionally bad presenter, I’m sure you’ll do a much better job.

And in case you were wondering…

Vanilla extract, 1 month old

This is my homemade vanilla extract
after a month of incubating
in my wine cupboard.


Love, The NyonyaCelup

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