I totally thought that I had the adventurous foodie thing pinned down.  No offal too slimy, no egg too fermented.  But, dear readers, it seems I’ve been outdone.  My hold up dates back to birth – I’m told I was never too keen on this nutritional goldmine.

    May I present: Baby Gaga.  Human milk ice cream, blended with vanilla beans and lemon zest.  Freshly squeezed from the teats of cash-strapped Londoners.  Ughh… I feel something coming up… where’s a bucket ?

    Okay so maybe I’m being a little harsh but I don’t fancy scooping up ice cream churned from the breasts of Polly-Ann of Tottenham.  I shouldn’t judge.  Apparently it is delicious.

    So much to the disappointment of any human dairy connoisseurs out there, this panna cotta is made from 100% cow supplied buttermilk.

    I remember my nanna giving us buttermilk ice cream as kids.  The buttermilk itself had a delicate vanilla taste, it’s ever-so-slight sour tones offsetting the sweetness of our thank-you-for-eating-your-broccoli treat.  Here I’ve paired it with a fiery chili gelée and rich dark chocolate ganache for a fun punch of flavour.

    Chili and chocolate are like the star-crossed lovers of the food realm.  The Ancient Mayans let their love thrive, but these confectionery soul-mates fell out of favour when chocolate became a gluggy dairy milk disaster…

    I am going through a walnut ‘thing’ at the moment.  They are supposed to be nature’s Prozac, the funny little brain-shaped nuts providing a super dose of Omega-3 fatty acids: something most of us are lacking considerably in our diets.  These Florentines are super easy to make: melt, mix, bake.  I tempered the chocolate for the undersides of these crisp little biscuits, but it is totally fine to use the chocolate straight after melting as long as you plan to eat the Florentines within a day or so (shouldn’t be too hard, right ?)

    The Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen. She chose to challenge everyone to make Panna Cotta from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and Nestle Florentine Cookies.

    buttermilk panna cotta with chocolate ganache & chili pepper gelée / walnut florentines

    makes 4-6 panna cotta cups and 25 florentine cookies

    for the buttermilk panna cotta

    • 2 ½ leaves gelatin
    • 400mL cream
    • 150g (¾ cups) caster sugar
    • 250ml buttermilk

    for the chocolate ganache

    • 250g dark chocolate, chopped
    • 120mL cream

    for the chili pepper gelée

    • 2 ½ leaves gelatin
    • 500mL water
    • 2-5 dried or fresh chili peppers (how hot can you handle ?)
    • 50g (¼ cup) caster sugar

    for the walnut florentines

    • 60g (⅓ cup) light brown sugar, packed
    • 60g (½ stick) unsalted butter
    • 60mL honey
    • 40g (⅓ cup) plain flour
    • 60g (½ cup) finely ground walnuts
    • 40g (¼ cup) candied citrus peel or crystallised ginger
    • 125g dark chocolate, chopped

    buttermilk panna cotta

    • Place the gelatin leaves in a bowl of very cold or iced water to soften.
    • Bring the cream and sugar to the boil in a small saucepan.  Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly (5 minutes or so).
    • When the gelatin has softened, squeeze out any excess water and add the leaves to the cream, whisking.
    • Strain the cream mix into a separate bowl and whisk in the buttermilk.  Let cool to room temperature.

    chocolate ganache

    • Set the chopped chocolate aside in a glass or metal bowl.
    • Bring the cream to the boil, pour over the chocolate and let sit for one minute.
    • Gently stir the mix until smooth, let cool to room temperature.

    chili pepper gelée

    • Bring the chilies, water and sugar to the boil.  Taste and adjust until the heat is spicy enough for you.  Set aside for 10 minutes.
    • Place the gelatin leaves in a bowl of very cold or iced water to soften.
    • When the gelatin has softened, squeeze out any excess water and add the leaves to the chili water, whisking.  Strain the gelée into a separate bowl and let cool to room temperature.

    layering the panna cotta

    • Arrange tea towels in a small tray so that your panna cotta glasses will be able to rest on an angle in the fridge.
    • With the glasses on an angle, pour a layer of the panna cotta mix in each glass.  Let set in the fridge (1 – 2 hours).
    • When the first layer has set, carefully pour a layer of the chocolate ganache on top of the panna cotta.  Let set in the fridge (½ – 1 hour).
    • Pour another layer of the panna cotta mix in each glass.  Let set in the fridge (1 – 2 hours).
    • Pour a thin layer of the chili gelée on top of the set panna cotta.  Let set in the fridge (½ – 1 hour).
    • Repeat this process with as many layers as you like.  You may need to warm up the ganache in the microwave (5 – 10 seconds) if it becomes too stiff.

    walnut florentines

    • Preheat your oven to 180°C
    • Melt the brown sugar, butter and honey in a small saucepan over medium heat, set aside.
    • Combine the flour with the ground walnuts and citrus peel/ ginger, then add the melted butter mix.
    • Dollop small rounds of the batter onto a Silpat silicone baking mat, or a greased tray lined with baking paper.  Make sure that the rounds have plenty of room to spread while baking.
    • Bake in the oven for 8 minutes, then remove and let cool.
    • Melt the chocolate over a bain marie until just melted.
    • To temper using the ‘seed’ method: add an additional chunk unmelted chocolate (approx. 50g) and stir until the chocolate reaches a temperature of about 31°C (barely warm to the touch).
    • Using a spatula or palette knife, spread a layer of the chocolate on the back of the cooled Florentine cookies.


    Ellie April 27, 2021 at 5:58 am

    Love the striped pattern you have created! So pretty.

    Beautifully layered. April 27, 2021 at 5:56 pm


    Wow, great flavour combo! And of course the layering is so creative. Well done! April 28, 2021 at 5:32 am


    Kayla April 28, 2021 at 9:15 am

    Oh my! How did you do this ? This is beautiful! Looks absolutely amazing just like all your other creations:)

    wow you’ve really upped the game in visual splendour! this looks so *no words to describe the ultimate prettiness* and delicious! and the numbers of hours put in… whew~ amazing! April 28, 2021 at 9:44 am


    Wow :) Very pretty looking panna cotta and chili gelee. Inventive! April 28, 2021 at 5:35 pm

    the indolent cook

    Ashlae April 28, 2021 at 5:44 pm

    Oh my goodness! Your panna cotta looks absolutely beautiful! I love the layers and the flavor combination. Fantastic job!!!!!

    But just as a precaution, would you keep it warm in between use because I doubt you can use the pannacotta mixture after it has set right? April 28, 2021 at 6:39 pm

    Min {Honest Vanilla}

    Thank you :) I just propped the glass up a little more with each layer, so that the angles were getting shallower each time and it looks ‘curvy’. I love your blog, lots of great information – I’m following ! April 29, 2021 at 3:39 am

    Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella

    Three-Cookies April 29, 2021 at 5:00 am

    Great designing. Boring though- made from cows milk?:)

    The layers are stunning. I’m loving the flavours you’ve got in there, too. April 29, 2021 at 7:29 pm


    Katie April 29, 2021 at 9:53 pm

    Thank you ! 🙂 This panna cotta mix doesn’t set up too hard, it’s still pretty wibbly-wobbly straight from the fridge so I didn’t have any issues. It was a hot day though… when I was working overseas we used to keep ganaches etc. in an oven with just the light on if we didn’t want them to firm up too quickly.

    Pudding Pie Lane April 30, 2021 at 5:28 am

    These are beauutiiifull 🙂 I think I’ll just stick to one or two dried chillies though!

    p.s. I’m going through a walnut phase too, they’re yummy, aren’t they?

    p.p.s. Baby Gaga? This may even be worse than Lady Gaga…

    Sugarlab April 30, 2021 at 1:14 pm

    Beautiful layering! I love the chili pepper idea with the chocolate. I will give it a try. As a totally squeamish person, I WILL be using cows milk.

    This is so creative! I’m really interested in tasting that chile gelée because as you said, chile and chocolate is yummmmm heaven. April 30, 2021 at 4:35 pm


    I think I’ll stick with buttermilk too :) This looks really pretty- I love the pretty stripy pattern you’ve made and it looks delicious too! Now I want pots like yours to make this pretty dessert! May 1, 2021 at 12:22 am

    Mable Tan

    That effect is amazing! I don’t know if I could dip a spoon into to to ruin it but I’m sure that I’d be seduced by the taste :) May 1, 2021 at 11:44 am


    Wow – so many layers… :-) May 1, 2021 at 2:22 pm

    She Whisks

    Cate Can Cook May 1, 2021 at 6:35 pm

    That looks absolutely gorgeous! I’m with you couldn’t do the Baby Gaga!!!

    Florian’s french blog May 2, 2021 at 6:13 am

    Yum, looks good ! really nice photo, nices colors too how did you made the curves on the last photos ?

    Jennifer (Delicieux) May 2, 2021 at 9:10 pm

    Your panna cotta looks gorgeous!! You are very patient to do all that layering and waiting for each layer to set.

    Are you kidding me right now? This looks so so good I can’t even see straight! Not to mention, chocolate, nature’s Prozac and panna cotta?? YUM! May 3, 2021 at 7:03 am


    visually stunning dish! not so sure about the breast milk ice cream either. Feel a little odd thinking about eating that. May 3, 2021 at 7:24 am


    Pavielango2002 May 3, 2021 at 6:58 pm

    Wow looks fabulous and wonderful flavors… Absolutely love it. Great work on this challenge. Beautifully layered.

    Cooking Gallery May 3, 2021 at 7:36 pm

    The panna cotta looks beautiful…!!

    What a fantastic combination and I love the way you layered your panna cotta. I was a little scared as I started reading your blog that those gorgeous panna cottas were made with human milk…..phew! May 4, 2021 at 12:33 am

    Lucy @ Lucyeats

    Waiting for all those layers to set must have taken a while! But they’re so worth it, your dessert looks absolutely gorgeous. Chilli & chocolate, what a brilliant flavour combination. Welcome to the DBers! :) May 4, 2021 at 4:22 am


    You’ve made dessert an art form. These really are stunning and I’m sure their taste mirrors their appearance. I really enjoy visiting here. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary May 4, 2021 at 7:40 am


    I love the idea of the sour buttermilk, rich chocolate and tickly chilli – heaven in a glass! May 4, 2021 at 9:14 am
    Phuoc’n Delicious May 4, 2021 at 1:25 pm

    Ooooo… pretty! I really really wanted to do a multi-layer pannacotta (didn’t get around to doing this month’s DBC) but I was worried about the many steps it would take to create all the layers.
    Just one question, how did you prevent the pannacotta from setting each time you waited for each layer to set? Did you keep the mixture warm the entire time?

    Pavielango2002 May 4, 2021 at 2:35 pm

    Wow looks fabulous and wonderful flavors… Absolutely love it. Great work on this challenge.

    What beautiful-looking concoction. Well done! I still have a little trouble picturing how you angle it but I guess I have to try it for myself to know. Cheers! May 4, 2021 at 5:09 pm


    The idea of human milk ice cream is squicky. It just doesn’t seem right. But I love your dessert here – I would gobble up that panna cotta in a second! May 4, 2021 at 5:18 pm