I’ve been suffering from a major sweet tooth lately, so I’ve been experimenting with some tasty dessert recipes this week. This one came from a fabulous new cookbook that was a Secret Santa gift (I totally scored, big time!), and features full-on dinner party menus, along with tips and strategies for a smooth cooking process.
The book also outlines which items can be prepared the day before, for less stress on the day of your event. It’s very detailed, easy to follow, and filled with bright photos of mouthwatering food. This panna cotta recipe popped out at me right from the start. I thought it would be a great opportunity to use my thrift store vintage cocktail glasses, and be good practice for Valentine’s Day dinner parties. I decided to let the hubs be my taste tester, he just loved it! A good thing, too, seeing as how the recipe makes 8, which means we’ll be enjoying panna cotta every night this week. Somehow, I think we’ll survive.
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
- 1/2 vanilla bean
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 6 Tablesoons sugar
- Pinch salt
- 12 ounces fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced, or frozen strawberries, thawed and sliced (2 1/2 cups)
- 5-7 Tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 cup water, plus extra as needed
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
For the Panna Cotta
- Set out 8 wine glasses on a baking sheet.
- Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl.
- Pour milk into a medium saucepan, sprinkle with gelatin evenly over top, and let sit for 10 minutes.
- Cut vanilla bean in half lengthwise, then scrape out seeds.. Combine the vanilla seeds, pods and heavy cream in a 4-cup liquid measuring cup (or equivalent size bowl)
- Heat milk and gelatin over high heat, stirring constantly, until gelatin is dissolved and mixture reaches 135 degrees (about 1 1/2 minutes). Remove pan from heat and add sugar and salt. Stir until dissolved, about 1 minutes. Stirring constantly, add the cream mixture.
- Transfer mixture to a medium-sized metal bowl (I used the bowl to my stand mixer), and set in ice bath. Let the mixture chill, stirring frequently, until it reaches 50 degrees and has the same consistency as eggnog.
- Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer, into a pitcher, then pour evenly into wine glasses. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set and chilled (at least 24 hours, up to 5 days).
For the Strawberry Coulis
- Simmer berries, 5 Tablespoons sugar, water, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar has dissolved, 1-3 minutes
- Transfer mixture to blender and puree until smooth, about 20 seconds. Strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer bowl, pressing on solids to extract as much puree as possible. Stir in lemon juice and a additional sugar, to taste (my batch was sweet enough, so I didn’t add any additional sugar). Keep coulis refrigerated until ready to use, up to 4 days.
- To serve, unwrap panna cotta and spoon 2-3 Tablespoons coulis over the top
Yield: 8 servings