Friday, April 15, 2016

From Words to Wok Book Club-- Ruth Reichl's Lemon Panna Cotta...

From Words to Wok is an online community of cookbook and food memoir enthusiasts founded by my friend Prachi Grover in Dubai. We are people who have a huge collection of cookbooks and don’t know how to stop adding more to our book shelves. Since we don’t have any intentions of controlling this habit we decided to do the next best thing: become a part of this group where we can legitimize this kind of behaviour. 

On my first post to announce the launch of From Words to Wok, members were being asked to select from the 16 Piglet finalists, and happily Ruth Reichl's My Kitchen Year was voted as the first cookbook to review. We have been cooking, eating and reading our way through this book; part cookbook and part memoir. Not everyone has this book on their shelves, and while purchasing the book is an option, borrowing from our local library as well as material and recipes we find online are other feasible ways to enjoy the book and be part of the discussion. I am waiting in queue for my book at the library so at the moment, I have been watching over the community posts from fellow book clubbers, and was inspired by Ruth's simple but decadent recipe for Lemon Panna Cotta. Lemons are my absolute favourite in desserts-- what a perky fresh flavour to bring in Spring :). 

Ruth Reichl's My Kitchen Year

I have to admit that I was amazed at the amount of whipping cream in the recipe at first (two pints is four cups). I wanted to see if I could `healthify`it by replacing some of the cream with table cream or milk. However, without adding an extra ingredient like gelatin, which is not preferred, it would likely not stabilize enough to set. So fellow member Julie Cockburn suggested, as it was her post that inspired me to make this, half the recipe and make the portions smaller, and see it as an occasional special treat. So I did just that. Here is Ruth`s recipe, and I halved all the ingredients to yield six servings. 

Thank you for the screenshot Julie Cockburn! :)

A carton of 473mL whipping cream equals to two cups (1 pint).

Catch the lemon seeds when squeezing in a strainer over a bowl OR squeeze, then remove from bowl with a spoon.

Pour into ramekins or other small vessels. I had these cute shallow tapas bowls to fill.

After chilling in the fridge for at least four hours as instructed.. lovely soft set lemon panna cotta emerges-- surprisingly delicate rich, smooth with balanced sweetness to counter the tang and insanely refreshing lemon-y! For contrasting colour and presentation, add raspberries or mint for garnish. Prachi Grover exchanged a comment that she made a lemony mint sugar syrup to pour on top. Yummmm!

Looking forward to sharing more recipes from My Kitchen Year with you!


  1. Lovely blogpost Susan! Thanks once again for joining the community and for making me a part of your crazy cookbook addiction :)

    1. Thank you lovely Prachi.... I look forward to the next book-- The Food of Oman!!