Saturday, August 10, 2013

Panna Cotta

Panna cotta is a classic Italian dessert and it translates to "cooked cream". You usually find panna cotta on many restaurant dessert menus but it's just as easy to recreate at home. And most importantly, it impresses people more when you made the dessert yourself. This dessert can be made a day or two in advance before a dinner party or a casual meal. Panna cotta comes in different flavors like chocolate, espresso, orange, coconut, and the list goes on.

2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus 2 tbsp.
1 vanilla bean, split
1 lemon, zested
1 envelope unflavored powdered gelatin
a handful of fresh strawberries, quartered 

Pour half of the heavy cream, 1/2 cup sugar, lemon zest, and the whole vanilla bean and its seeds in a saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer

Meanwhile, dissolve the gelatin with 5 tbsp. of cold water until you have a thick paste and let it sit for 2 minutes 

Place the gelatin mixture into cream mixture and stir for 1 minute over the heat

Take the vanilla bean out and pour the hot cream mixture into the other half of the cream and stir until combined

Pour this into 5 (4oz.) ramekins and refrigerate for a few hours, preferably overnight 

In a small bowl, mix the 2 tbsp. of sugar with the strawberries and refrigerate it for about 30 minutes

Place the ramekins in warm water for a few seconds to loosen up the edges and turn the panna cotta out on a plate

Serve the panna cotta with mascerated strawberries and top with a sprig of mint