This is a gelatinized version of my favorite drink. I drink it black when I’m on a diet and with cream when I don’t count calories (I don’t sip it everyday, don’t you think that :). I adjusted the proportion, since it didn’t quite appeal to me to eat mainly vodka-tasted gelée with a spoon. To make the dessert alcohol-free, simply substitute Kahlua/vodka mixture for lightly sweetened espresso (not quite the same effect though). To make it suitable for pregnant women and children, go with decaffeinated coffee. DO NOT offer the original version to kids; it’s seriously boozy. And for serving, I would suggest chocolate cigar-shaped tuiles, dipped into coffee-infused ganache, perhaps.

Makes 4 3-oz servings (you can make more servings dividing the mixture between smaller shot glasses; this panna cotta is rich, so it should still be enough)

For the Kahlua gelée:

  • 1 oz (30 ml; 2 tbsp) vodka
  • ½ tsp gelatin
  • 3 oz (90 ml; 6 tbsp) Kahlua

For the panna cotta:

  • 1 tbsp cold water
  • ½ tsp gelatin
  • ¾ cup whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp fine granulated sugar
  • Tiny pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Freshly grated nutmeg for sprinkling
  • Finely grated bittersweet chocolate for sprinkling

Make the Kahlua gelée:

Pour 2 tbsp of vodka into a small bowl or a cup and sprinkle the gelatin over. Let soften for a couple of minutes. Heat in a microwave oven for about 10 seconds on High until the gelatin is dissolved (or dissolve it by placing the cup with the gelatin into a hot water bath). Add the Kahlua, whisk to combine. Divide the mixture equally between small shot glasses (mine were 3-oz capacity; 2 tbsp of Kahlua mixture went into each glass). Place into the fridge until set before topping the gelée with the panna cotta, for at least 1 hour. If you want this tilted effect, place the shot glasses into an empty egg carton.

Make the panna cotta:

Pour 1 tbsp of water into a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over. Let soften for a couple of minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the whipping cream, sugar, and salt. Heat over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved and the cream is hot. Remove from the heat and whisk in the softened gelatin; whisk until the gelatin dissolves. Set aside.

Place the sour cream in a liquid-measuring cup (a spout will make the later pouring easy). Add the vanilla extract and whisk to combine and lighten the sour cream. Gradually, whisk in the hot cream-gelatin mixture. Let the mixture cool to room temperature, whisking often, before pouring over the gelée. Pour, dividing it equally, into the shot glasses. Refrigerate until set before serving. Right before serving sprinkle a little bit of freshly grated nutmeg and some grated chocolate over the surface of the panna cotta.