Breakfast for Dessert

As soon as The Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook arrived, I knew I would be revisiting one of my failures – the cereal milk panna cotta, certified by the authors of Momofuku as a non-working recipe. The first chapter is devoted to cereal milk and its variations, as if author Christina Tosi knew she had some ‘splainin’ to do. I gave the rest of the book a quick skim, but I was already thinking about my mise en place for dessert.

Rather than use corn flakes as a base, I switched to Cap’n Crunch – 100 grams worth.

I crushed the cereal in a plastic bag until it had the consistency of coarse sand, steeped it for twenty minutes in 825 grams of cold whole milk, then passed the milky sludge twice through a fine mesh strainer. I stirred in 20 grams of light brown sugar and a gram of kosher salt, then let the mixture rest in the fridge.

To make the panna cotta, I measured out 320 grams of the sweetened milk along with one and a half sheets of gelatin, a gram of kosher salt, and 30 more grams of light brown sugar.

I warmed up about a quarter of the milk over low heat and added the gelatin sheets to dissolve.

Off heat I added the salt, sugar, and the rest of the milk, stirring gently until the mix was well combined. I divided the milk into four small ramekins.

I let the milk sit covered in the fridge for an overnight chill while I considered the rest of the dessert. I figured some ice cream would go with the panna cotta, which is when I remembered the French toast ice cream – miraculously unconsumed – still in the freezer. I wanted a bit of color on the plate to offset the beige and brown main components, which made me think of raspberry jam.

I topped the panna cotta with some cornflake crunch I had left over from the first attempt, added a scoop of the ice cream topped with powdered French toast crumbs, smeared some jam on the plate, and topped it with a few fresh raspberries. Served with a shot of Berkshire Brewing Coffeehouse Porter , the dish became a complete breakfast: cereal, milk, French toast, jam, and coffee.

The panna cotta was noticeably firmer than my previous attempt. When I compared the ratios of  gelatin (sheets) to milk (cups) from both recipes, I saw that the previous version had a 1:1 ratio while the new version altered the ratio to 1.25:1. That extra 25% change made all the difference, but still produced a smooth, silky gel.

Now that I know this recipe works, I’ll be moving on to some of the more ambitions projects. There’s something called “crack pie” that looks irresistible.

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6 Responses to Breakfast for Dessert

  1. Diana says:

    For panna cottas we use 1 percent gelatin by weight (1 gram gelatin for every 100 grams of base), and find it works very well. If there’s alcohol in the base you may need to take it up to 1.1 or 1.2 percent for the same texture.

    Good luck with crack pie!

  2. Nice that you finally got it to work! Am I correct in understanding that the amount of gelatin is the only difference between the two recipes?

    • David says:

      The gelatin amount is the obvious difference, but I can’t discount a possible effect from the freeze-thaw required in the first recipe.

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