Red Currant-Vanilla Panna Cotta Tart

Red Currant-Vanilla Panna Cotta Tart

There is already a rhubarb panna cotta tart recipe on this blog. Yes, this is another panna cotta tart. And yes, it’s another PINK panna cotta tart at that. But, after I posted a picture of this red currant-vanilla panna cotta variation on Instagram, someone requested the recipe. I had to oblige. My pitch is this: This panna cotta tart is even easier to make, and, I must admit, tastier than the rhubarb one previously posted. It’s also just as pretty.

Red Currant-Vanilla Panna Cotta Tart

Until a few years ago, I assumed that fresh currants–along with gooseberries–were found exclusively in Europe, and just not available to us unfortunate Americans. Recently, though, all hues of fresh currants have been appearing at Farmers’ Markets on the East Coast, and if you haven’t sought them out, this tart is an excellent excuse! Fresh currants are slightly tart and subtly sweet. And, for the aesthetically motivated bakers among us, they’re the closest thing you can find in nature to edible jewels. Macerated red currants turn the cream in this tart’s panna cotta filling the most gorgeous shade of pink. The white currants that decorate the top look like little pearls. Despite the amount of cream, the tart manages to taste both light and refreshing, with just the right amount of tang. And it’s seriously easy to make.

Red Currant-Vanilla Panna Cotta Tart

The filling for this subtly sweet and tangy tart is based on a blackberry panna cotta recipe found here: The crust comes from the wonderful cookbook Soulful Baker, by Julie Jones.


Tart Shell:

  • 230 g all-purpose flour
  • 125 g unsalted butter chilled and diced
  • 50 g powdered sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tbsp whole milk

To glaze the tart shell:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • a couple of drops of boiling water

Red Currant-Vanilla Panna Cotta Filling

  • 1 heaping cup fresh red currants use up to 1.5 cups if you have it!
  • 1/3 cup / 67 g granulated sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 of a large vanilla bean
  • scant 2 tsp powdered gelatin
  • 4 tbsp cold water

To decorate:

  • white currants


Make the tart shell:

  1. Place the flour and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on low speed until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  2. Add the powdered sugar to the bowl, and beat gently until just combined.
  3. Add the egg yolk and milk, turn the speed up to medium-low (2 or 3 on a KitchenAid stand mixer), and mix until the dough just starts to come together.
  4. Gather the dough mixture in a piece of plastic wrap, bringing it together into a ball, and then flattening the ball into a disk about 1/2 inch thick.
  5. Chill the pastry dough in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
  6. When the dough is chilled, roll it out between two pieces of parchment paper (this will allow you to avoid adding more flouuntil it is about 1/8 inch thick.
  7. Remove the top sheet of parchment and transfer the dough (parchment side uto a 9-inch fluted tart pan. Remove the remaining parchment and gently press the dough into the pan. Trim the edges so that the pastry extends about 1/2 inch beyond the top of the pan. (You want a bit of overhang.) Use the handle of a wooden spoon to gently press the the pastry into the fluted sides of the pan. Reserve the extra dough.
  8. Place the tart shell in the refrigerator and chill for about 30 minutes.
  9. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 F.
  10. Remove the tart shell from the refrigerator, place it on a baking sheet, and prick the bottom all over with a fork at 1 inch intervals. Line the pastry with a crumpled up piece of parchment paper, and fill the shell with pie weights, dried beans, or rice.
  11. Blind bake the tart shell for 15 minutes. Then take the baking sheet with tart shell out of the oven, carefully remove the parchment and pie weights, and return to the oven to bake for an additional five minutes, until the dough loses its “raw” look.
  12. Remove the pan from the oven again. If there are any cracks or holes, patch them with the reserved dough. Mix the remaining egg yolk with a couple of drops of boiling water, and brush the inside of the tart shell with the egg yolk mixture.
  13. Return the tart shell to the oven and bake for another 15 minutes.
  14. Remove the tart shell from the oven to a wire rack and allow it to cool, still on the baking sheet.
  15. When the tart shell is cool, use a Swiss vegetable peeler to carefully shave away the overhang. Using a clean, soft, pastry brush or paintbrush, gently sweep out any crumbs that have fallen into the bottom of the shell.

Make the panna cotta filling:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the red currants with the sugar and set aside to macerate for 30 minutes.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the cream with the currant-sugar mixture, scrape in the seeds from the vanilla bean, and heat until just steaming (160-170 F). Remove from the heat, and allow the mixture to steep for 30 minutes.
  3. Toward the end of the 30 minutes, place the 4 tbsp cold water in large, spouted container. (I used a 4-cup capacity Pyrex measuring cup.) Sprinkle the powdered gelatin over the cold water.

  4. Return the currant-cream mixture to the stove, and re-heat again until just steaming (160-170 F).
  5. Place a fine mesh sieve over the container with the now softened gelatin, and pour in the currant-cream mixture through the sieve, using a rubber or silicone spatula to stir and press mixture to extract every last bit of pink-tinged liquid. When you’ve extracted as much liquid as possible, thoroughly whisk the currant-cream mixture into the softened gelatin.
  6. Place the tart shell, still on the baking sheet, in the refrigerator on a low shelf.
  7. Carefully pour the filling into the tart shell, then leave the tart in the refrigerator to set overnight, or for at least four hours.
  8. When the filling has completely set, decorate the tart with white currants.
Red Currant-Vanilla Panna Cotta Tart

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