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Terry & Dave Taylor

Panna Cotta

Panna CottaA super easy recipe with the benefit of having to be made in advance, so it is perfect for entertaining. Yummy plain, but even better served with fresh fruits. This recipe calls for half and half, but I have had very good results using reduced-fat and even fat-free milk. In Italy, this dessert is traditionally molded in individual ramekins, served inverted onto a plate and decorated with seasonally fruits. I have skipped this step by chilling/serving the panna cotta in sherbet dishes or martini glasses and decorating the top with fruits - much easier.

2 Tablespoons cold water
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
   (about 1 Tablespoon)
3 cups half and half
1/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons vanilla

Place two tablespoons of water in a very small saucepan. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let it sit for about a minute to soften. Heat the gelatin mixture over a low heat until gelatin is dissolved. Remove remove from heat.

Heat the half and half, sugar and salt in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, while stirring. Just as the mixture begins to boil, remove it from the heat. Use a whisk to stir while slowly pouring the gelatin into the panna cotta. Whisk well to totally incorporate, then add the vanilla. Pour into six sherbet dishes or martini-type glasses. Chill eight hours or overnight. To serve, garnish with fresh fruit, if desired.

Serves 6.

A layer of raspberry sauce on the bottom and top of this panna cotta makes a beautiful presentationHere is a great idea for making Panna Cotta extra-special:

Raspberry Sauce for Panna Cotta

6 oz basket fresh raspberries
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon fresh Lemon Juice
2 Tablespoons Chambord (Raspberry Liqueur)

Reserve 6 perfect raspberries for garnish. Place the raspberries, sugar and lemon juice in a very small sauce pan. Heat over medium flame while stirring to combine. Using the back of a wooden spoon, press down on the berries to break them up and continue cooking and stirring until berries are broken, and the sauce begins to thicken slightly and turns ruby red. Strain through a fine sieve to a small pitcher. Discard seeds. Makes about ½ cup.

Pour 2 teaspoons of raspberry sauce in the bottom of a six martini glasses (or equivalent). Place in freezer. Refrigerate remaining sauce.

Make the panna cotta (recipe above) and cool to room temperature. Stir well. Evenly distribute the panna cotta over the frozen raspberry sauce in each martini glass. Refrigerate (no need to cover) until set - eight hours or overnight. The bottom layer of raspberry sauce will thaw before serving, but will keep the layers separate. Just before serving, pour a Tablespoon of the raspberry sauce over the top of the firmly set panna cotta. Carefully tilt the glass to cover the top of the panna cotta with the sauce. (Alternatively, you can simply drizzle a bit of the raspberry sauce over the top of the set panna cotta.) Place a raspberry on the top as garnish, if desired. Serves 6.

Panna Cotta with raspberry sauce

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