Friday, September 28, 2012

Dark Chocolate Panna Cotta for Mid-Autumn Festival? Oh Yeah!


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This Sunday, September 30th, would be the Mid-Autumn Festival.  The Mid-Autumn Festival is also known as the Moon Festival or 中秋節 in Chinese.   It’s a popular harvest festival celebrated by Chinese and Vietnamese, dating back over 3,000 years.  The Mid-Autumn Festival is held on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese calendar, which is usually around late September or early October in the Gregorian calendar.   The moon is supposedly at its fullest and roundest. 

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The traditional food of this festival is the mooncake, as shown in the picture right below.  The golden salty egg yolk in the mooncake resembles the full moon for the festival.  If you have been following my blog or happened to read this post here, you might know that I’m not a big fan of mooncake at all.

Moon Cakes

Even if I was a fan of mooncake, I haven’t master the art of baking a traditional mooncake, just yet.  Last year, I shared with you the recipe of Snow Skin Mooncakes as shown in the picture below, (you can read the post and recipe here), which are more trendy type of mooncakes with a different type of dough wrapped around different fillings compared to the traditional ones.  Those were pretty simple to make as long as you have the mold.

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Since I don’t have a new mooncake recipe to share this year, I decided to make something similar to the shape of Iced-Skin Mooncakes I made last year, in a glance. They look similar in their shapes, but a LOT more decadent!  Aren’t they similar in their shapes?  No?  Not at all?  Never mind then.  Hm…..but who doesn’t like dark chocolate?  How about smooth, creamy, rich, and melt in your mouth kind of chocolate desserts? Are you convinced yet?

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After a bite, I guaranteed you’ll be convinced!  I know my whole family was, that’s for sure.  We’re not going to miss the traditional mooncakes with these decadent Dark Chocolate Panna Cotta in our tummies this year! 
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I made mine in two different containers, the little glasses as shown in the picture below and with a silicone mold, such as this one, to create the mini ones shown in the picture above. 

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With the small glasses, you can serve them in the glasses as is.  Maybe top with a dollop of whipped cream, shaved chocolate and a spring of mint.   You can also make these Panna Cotta in traditional ramekins and invert them onto a plate when ready to serve (see instructions on recipe below).

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No matter what containers they are in, they would be your best dessert, ever!  I was hoping to do a little portion control and make the mini ones, for the kids.  But guess what, they ate 3 of those in a sitting!  haha…what a way to portion control.  Smile with tongue out I think 'portion control' just doesn’t work in my house. 

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Recently, an incident happened with our extended family.  I’m not going into details here.  But it’s a wake up call, or a reminder for us to cherish our time together with family and loved ones!  As life is full of unexpected events and thing might not be the same tomorrow.  So, please, go give your love ones a big hug, a kiss, and tell them you love them. Not just on this special occasion, but everyday, hopefully!  Wish you all a wonderful Mid-Autumn Festival, 中秋節快樂 and 人月兩團圓.  Take care.

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Update 9/30/2012:  We had a small celebration at home with lots of BBQ.  Yes, it’s still super hot in L.A. and it was perfect to have a little outdoor activities.  I was able to capture this gorgeous image tonight (see picture below) while having some fun time with my family.  Hope you had a wonderful weekend as well.

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Dark Chocolate Panna Cotta: (Printable Recipe)Servings: 4

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/4 teaspoon plain gelatin powder
2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons sugar
A pinch of sea salt
2 ounce bittersweet chocolate, (I used Varlhona 70%), finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

*If you plan to un-mold the Panna Cotta from ramekins, lightly coat four 6-ounce ramekins with vegetable oil.  If using small glasses or silicone molds as shown in my recipe, no need to coat them.
In a small microwave safe bowl, pour 1/4 cup of the cream and sprinkle the gelatin over it.  Let it stand until softened, about 5-10 minutes. Place the bowl in the microwave and heat for 30 second or until liquefy.

In a small saucepan, bring the remaining 1 1/4 cups cream, cocoa powder, mascarpone, sugar and salt just to a boil over medium heat. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate, whisk until smooth.

Add the gelatin mixture to the chocolate mixture and stir until well blended. Pour through a fine strainer into a glass measuring cup with a pour spout. Divide the mixture evenly among the ramekins or desired containers.  Let cool to room temperature.

Cover containers with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours or up to 1 day.

To serve, dip the ramekins one at a time into a bowl of hot water for about 5 seconds, then run a table knife around the edges of the custard and invert onto a chilled serving plate.  If serving with small glasses, simply add  whipped cream on top and a spring of mint to garnish. 

*for the mini ones with silicone mold, I place it in the freezer to harden for an hour before removing from the mold.  Once they are all out of the mold, store them in an air tight container in the refrigerator until ready to serve. 

31 comments:

  1. You meant '30th'? ;-)
    The panna cotta looks SUPER! I too am not a huge fan of mooncakes...

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    1. hahaha...thanks, Angie for catching the typo. I meant 30th. Note to self" Shouldn't write post in the middle of the night. ;P Happy Friday!

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  2. Your Chocolate Panna Cotta has made me craving for it at this second!! It must be heavenly delicious and yummy! Your presentation looks so beautiful. And.... Wishing you and to your family Happy Mid-Autumn Festival.... aka Mooncake Festival!

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    1. Thank you, Mel. Hope you had a nice celebration with your family. :)

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  3. Amy, is...30th :))
    I love panna cotta, going to try them out soon.
    Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!

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    1. hehe...Thanks, Ann. I do meant to put 30th...oh well. Thanks for catching my typo. Happy Mid-Autumn Festival to you and your family too. ;)

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  4. Happy Mid-Autumn Festival, Amy! 祝你同家人開開心心賞月!
    This year, I bought a few Maxims snowskin mooncakes. They are long gone by now. I think your chocolate panna cotta may just be my Sunday's dessert! Thank you.

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    1. Thank you so much. We did have a wonderful time enjoying the full moon at the back yard. Hope you had a good one as well. :)

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  5. Amy, these chocolate cups look so delicious! xo

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  6. Oh yeah for sure! Creamy, chocolately, perfect. Eat many mooncakes!

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    1. :) Hope you had a wonderful time with you family as well. Oh yeah...chocolate beat mooncake in my house...any time of the year. hahaha...

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  7. I LOVE panna cotta! I can still remember the first time I tried it, but I have yet to try chocolate and being a chocoholic that seems like a crime ;) I am very excited to give your recipe a try!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by. Hope you enjoy the recipe and this chocolate-y treat. :)

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  8. Oh wow! This look simply amazing and I really love the photos.

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    1. Thank you. Glad you enjoy the photos. This is one creamy and chocolate-y treat that I can't resist. I just gave the last one of my 2nd batch to my Mom...and I definitely need to make more. hahaha...

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  9. I was pouring sweat in the kitchen all day today--it's nearly midnight in my part of LA, and it's still a good 90! I love your innovation with a classic holiday tradition; I wouldn't mind being in your dining room the next year round. Thanks for sharing! I'm heading out now to look at the moon :)

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    1. Well, my part of LA isn't that much better! It hits 100F earlier today. Can't wait to get cooler temperature. Hope you had a wonderful time catching the full moon. :)

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  10. love all your photos Amy! I also love the color of the mooncake!

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    1. Thank you. I love the colorful mooncakes too. Best part is that the colors are all natural from different food. ;)

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  11. I've never had chocolate panna cotta before. I really want to try it now!!

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    1. I'm sure you'll love it. It's pure decadent chocolate indulgence. :)

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  12. Because our friends give us moon cakes and I didn't wan to waste, so I tried really hard to like moon cakes, but I just couldn't. It's too heavy for me. However, I love looking at the beautiful moon cakes though. I think it's amazing how they make it (I have been following bloggers who make them from scratch) and they do look delicious! I might enjoy homemade ones... not sure. But I'm surprised you don't like that much either! I love your dark chocolate panna cotta. I'd take second serving for that instead of moon cake. =P

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    1. I think I don't like mooncakes for the same reason as yours. They are just too heavy and too dense. The snowskin ones are way better though. Yeah, it's a art work making mooncakes, especially the traditional ones. :) If you like chocolate, give this panna cotta a try. It's really good, plus, so easy to make too.

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  13. I think you made a perfect substitution of moon cakes ;) This chocolate panna cotta looks so rich and delicious. A must try!

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    1. Thanks. Hope you enjoy the recipe. :) I just make another batch and it's waiting for me in the fridge.

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  14. I feel the same way about moon cakes. I'll take a nibble of one if they happen to be in front of me. But otherwise, I don't go out of my way to eat them. Give me a dark chocolate dessert instead and I'd be much happier. ;)

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    1. Good to know I'm not the only one that feels that way about mooncakes. phew... ;)

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  15. Hi Amy. I am new to your blog and love all your recipes. Could you tell me if you can substitute agar agar for unflavored gelatin in you panna cotta recipes. Thanks so much. Helen

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