Recipe: goat cheese panna cotta from Toca chef Gihen Zitouni

Recipe: goat cheese panna cotta from Toca chef Gihen Zitouni

Toronto Life Cookbook 2013: Panna Cotta

By Gihen Zitouni
By Gihen Zitouni

PREP TIME: 1 hour 30 minutes
BAKE TIME: 15 minutes
Serves 10


1 vanilla bean
2 cups whipping cream
1 cup buttermilk
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed chèvre, at room temperature
3 sheets gelatin, each approx. 3 by 9 inches


1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup butter, at room temperature
⅓ cup plus 2 tsp granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract


½ cup plus 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tbsp plus 1 tsp water
½ cup plus 1 tbsp whipping cream
7 egg yolks
½ cup granulated sugar
1 lb strawberries, chopped

1. To prepare panna cotta, halve the vanilla bean and scrape seeds into a medium saucepan along with cream, buttermilk and sugar. Add the rest of the bean. Bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Stir until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and discard vanilla bean. Add chèvre. Stir until creamy and smooth. Set aside and let cool slightly.

2. Fill a bowl with cold water. Add gelatin sheets and let soak for 5 minutes until soft. Squeeze the water from each sheet and add one at a time to the warm cream mixture. Stir until gelatin dissolves completely. Pour into 10 glasses, filling halfway. Refrigerate overnight.

3. To prepare crumble, preheat oven to 350°F. Stir crumble ingredients together in a bowl. Spread the mixture on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 25 minutes until lightly golden. Let cool completely. Break up into pieces.

4. To prepare lemon foam, whisk lemon juice with water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Slowly whisk in cream. Bring to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally. Place egg yolks in a medium bowl. Whisk in ½ cup sugar until mixture is pale yellow. When lemon cream is hot
(but not scalding), slowly whisk into egg mixture. Cool in fridge. Pour into a whipped cream dispenser.

5. Just before serving, sprinkle crumble on top of each panna cotta. Top with strawberries. Insert two nitrous oxide chargers into the whipped cream dispenser. Swirl whipped lemon foam on top. Serve immediately.

Toronto Life Cookbook 2013: Panna Cotta
You’ll need a whipped cream dispenser to serve the lemon cream. Pick one up (along with a few spare nitrous oxide cartridges) at Nikolaou Restaurant Equipment. 629 Queen St. W., 416-504-6411.

Toronto Life Cookbook 2013: Panna CottaGIHEN ZITOUNI
Gihen Zitouni was born to Tunisian parents in Montreal, trained with Michelin-starred chef Sergi Arola in Portugal and moved to Toronto last summer to run the kitchen at the Ritz-Carlton’s Toca. This panna cotta recipe reveals her cross-cultural influences. The dish was inspired by her travels to Portugal and diverges from the classic Italian recipe with the addition of Quebec chèvre, a crumble topping and fresh Ontario strawberries. Romans might not consider it authentic, but they’ll love its zesty tang just the same.