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.