This panna cotta harkens back to a childhood delight—the leftover milk in the bottom of your cereal bowl.
I love jiggly foods. Anything with a wobbly, wiggly, squishy texture—I want to eat it. When I was a kid, my mom used to take to me to this incredible sprawling grocery store called Grand Asia Market in a suburb outside of my hometown, and I would get 4-gallon buckets of these mini one-bite jello cups in all sorts of (for me at the time) exotic-feeling flavors and would relish slurping them as my one allotted dessert every night. Sanrio Surprise also carried one of my all-time favorite green muscat grape jelly candies shaped like Keroppi the frog that had a truly sublime jiggle to them.
As I’ve gotten older, my love for jiggly foods has remained, but I suppose my palette has gotten a bit more sophisticated. Chawan-mushi, Congee, Korean rice cakes—has anyone tired that viral jiggly Japanese cheesecake? Panna Cotta fits squarely into this very nuanced category of food and something I have a hard time not ordering anytime I see it on a restaurant menu, but I’ve never actually made it at home.
This particular iteration of panna cotta harkens back to a childhood delight—the leftover milk in the bottom of your cereal bowl. Given a little oomph with caramel-y brown sugar, a healthy pinch of salt, and a caramelized cornflake topping it’s a near perfect dessert—or breakfast for that matter. This recipe comes from a book new to the shop, Signature Dishes That Matter, an addictively cookable archive of recipes that chronicles iconic dishes from chefs all over the globe that have changed the course of our foodways and dining experiences throughout history. This panna cotta is the creation of Christina Tosi, during her time as the Pastry Chef at Momofuku Ko, a tasting-menu spot in NYC's Lower East Side that the book describes as having a "type-A stoner ethos." It embodies Tosi's signature style of junk food nostalgia turned elegant.
What you'll need:
For the panna cotta
6 cups Kellogg’s Corn Flakes
3 cups whole (full-fat) milk
2 cups heavy (double) cream
¾ teaspoon kosher (coarse) salt
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon powdered gelatin (about 1 ½ packages)
For the topping
¾ cup Kellogg’s Corn Flakes
3 tablespoons nonfat instant milk powder
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
3 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Let's get started!
For the panna cotta
Heat the oven to 300° F. Spread the cereal on a baking sheet (tray) and bake until toasty, about 12 minutes. While still warm, transfer to a large bowl or container and add the milk and cream. Stir to combine and let steep (infuse) 45 minutes. (Dessert will get too starchy if it steeps longer.)
Strain into a microwave-safe bowl or a saucepan, pressing to extract the liquid. (Discard the soggy cereal or eat it.) Add the salt and brown sugar, and heat just until the milk is hot enough to dissolve the sugar, watching carefully. Stir gently to dissolve the sugar. Lade ¼ cup milk mixture into a small bowl and mix in the gelatin. Set aside 5 minutes, then whisk the soaked gelatin back into the remaining milk mixture.
Divide the mixture among 8 ramekins (Breakfast Bowls or Ice Cream Bowls both work well!) Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours.
For the topping
Meanwhile, make topping, if you like: heat the oven to 275° F. Put the cereal into a large bowl and crush lightly with your hands.
In a small bowl, stir together the milk powder, sugar and salt. Sprinkle the mixture over the crushed flakes and add the melted butter. Toss to coat the cereal evenly.
Spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment (baking) paper (or a nonstick baking mat) and bake for 20 minutes, or until deep golden brown. Remove from the pan and set aside to cool. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container up to 1 week.
When ready, serve cold panna cottas in Breakfast Bowls or ramekins. Sprinkle generously with the cornflake topping.