After I ate the last two chocolate panna cotta for breakfast this morning (better than pizza right? :D ), and getting the approval of another chocolate-obsessed, I feel comfortable sharing my formulation.
The cocoa powder I'm using in dutch processed and 17% fat content (1g of fat in 6g, is weight percentage how they calculate fat content?).
For a cleaner chocolate flavour and a firmer jelly (my second batch) use water instead of milk.
- 250g of total liquids: 30g water / 70g heavy cream / 150g milk (I used 3%)
- 60g sugar
- 30g cocoa powder
- 2g agar-agar
I made 450g total liquids for my second batch and the ratio scales up well. Though I've read somewhere that you should be careful scaling a batch beyond double or half of the original formulation.
Cocoa powder loves to clump together and is a major pain to work with, anticipate a loot of time stirring it in.
- Dissolve the agar-agar into the cold water and start heating it up on the solve under low heat. If there's more liquid, you can turn the heat up to medium but the point is to very slowly bring the mixture up to a boil so you have time to mix in the cocoa power.
- Sieve the cocoa powder into the sugar and mix well. Mix the heavy cream and milk as well.
- Have a container and the sieve on stand-by beside the stove. Also have an instant-read thermometer within reach.
- Start mixing in the cocoa powder/sugar mixture. Add a moderate amount at a time and mix very very well. I found that using a silicone spatula was the best since it has the right amount of flexibility. Best to press any stubborn clumps against the side of the pot. How well you incorporate the cocoa directly determines how smooth the final jelly is.
- Add in some of the cream/milk. Tbh it was more work mixing in the cream than the cocoa.
- Alternate adding the cocoa power/sugar and cream/milk.
- Adjust the heat so the mixture doesn't actually boil over. You can to bring it just above 90C, so check with the thermometer once you suspect the temperature is close.
- Ideally you'll finish adding in everything before the mixture reaches 90C. Once you're done adding in everything, pour the mixture into the container on stand-by, scrapping the pot well. Then set the sieve on the pot and pour everything back into the pot, discarding any clumps that catch on the sieve. I feel its better to set the sieve on the pot rather than on the container since it minimizes the amount of time the mixture sits in a not-hot container. This step is really a pain to do, but worth it if you want really smooth jelly.
- Once the mixture is strained and reaches 90, pour it into the moulds and let it cool. Agar-agar gels rather quickly.