One night we went to a Mediterranean Restaurant for dinner and as a rare treat, we decided to order dessert afterwards. I wasn’t even sure what Panna Cotta was exactly, but our server highly recommended it, and it came out in a large round wine glass with a layer of caramel on top. It was fantastic–very light, creamy, yet rich and refreshing too. I made a mental note to go home and learn how to make this myself.
It’s amazing how simple and quick this is to make with just a few ingredients, and because there’s gelatin to hold everything together, it’s pretty hard to mess up. You also get to make it ahead of time, so if you have guests over, all you have to do is unmold it, plate it, garnish it, and serve. It’s a great summer dessert, and you can also adjust the amount of cream and milk–I did about half cream and half milk to total 4 cups in an attempt to cut out a little of the fat, but it was still nice and creamy. Instead of caramel, I made a blueberry sauce I to go over it, and it was a hit. Now go make it and impress people!
From David Lebowitz
4 cups heavy cream (or half-and-half)
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
2 packets powdered gelatin (about 4 1/2 teaspoons)
6 Tablespoons cold water
1. Heat the heavy cream and sugar in a saucepan until sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
2. Lightly oil eight custard cups with a neutral-tasting oil. I lightly sprayed my large muffin tin with a thin coat of Pam.
3. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water in a medium-sized bowl and let stand for 5 minutes until it has bloomed.
4. Pour the very warm Panna Cotta mixture over the gelatin and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved.
5. Divide the Panna Cotta mixture into the prepared cups, then chill them until firm, which will take at least 2-4 hours or even overnight covered with plastic wrap. If you’re pressed for time, pour the Panna Cotta mixture into wine goblets so you can serve them in the glasses, without unmolding.
6. Run a sharp knife around the edge of each Panna Cotta and unmold each onto a serving plate, and garnish as desired.
From Alice at Savory Sweet Life
2 cups frozen blueberries
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons grated orange zest/rind (lemon zest works too)
Cook blueberries, sugar, and water on medium-high heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The fruit will start to break down. Turn heat off and stir in orange rind. Makes approx. 1 1/4 cups of sauce.