the week after christmas, at my aunt's surprise party, my cousin steve and i were talking about food. sure, it always starts innocent enough - have you been to any good restaurants lately? - and turns into an hours long conversation about what we've been cooking, how to photograph food, and what each other should be cooking. steve mentioned panna cotta and how easy it is. it immediately shot to the top of my 'must make now!' list.
the real reason i made it? i had to find out for myself if it's actually easy, or if steve has made it enough times that it's easy for him. plus i've had my little box of gelatin for a few months now, bought on a whim, hoping to make marshmallows some ambitious day. the marshmallows will have to wait until later.
steve was right! this is another dessert that looks elegant and seems like it should be a lot harder than it really is. the almond and vanilla extracts worked perfectly together and it was a cinch to mix together. i made mine one evening after dinner was cooked and cleaned up, letting them chill in the refrigerator over night.
while the panna cotta itself was really delicious, the blackberry sauce put it over the top! i have a jar of blackberry syrup left from last summer, which i boiled down to thicken while i mixed together the panna cotta. it was the perfect compliment, cutting through the rich cream and providing a slight tartness. perfect.
adapted from the joy of cooking
15 minutes plus at least 4 hours to chill, serves 6
3 tablespoons cold water
1 envelope (2 1/4 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- spray six 4-6 ounce ramekins or bowls lightly with non stick spray. set aside.
- pour the water into a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over it. let sit 5 minutes to soften.
- meanwhile, combine the heavy cream, milk, and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
- remove from heat and add the softened gelatin. mix until all the gelatin is dissolved, about 1 minute.
- stir in the vanilla and almond extracts.
- use a ladle to distribute the mixture among the ramekins. cover the ramekins with plastic wrap and chill at least 4 hours.
- serve with blackberry sauce.
makes 1/2 cup
3 cups blackberries
1/2 cup sugar
- mash and strain blackberries and discard the pulp. you should have about 1 cup of juice.
- in a small saucepan, heat the juice and sugar over medium heat until the sugar dissolves.
- boil, about five minutes, until thick and reduced by half, to half a cup.
- cool and chill until ready to serve.