Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Panna Cotta Classic

Alright, I know I've already extolled the
virtues of panna cotta -- the rich, creamy, ridiculously easy Italian dessert -- around these parts, so I won't spend our precious time convincing you to make it. You're already convinced, right? Just need that two-person-sized recipe, right?

Well wait no longer, friends. Take this wonderfully simple recipe from Lynne Rossetto Kasper of the Splendid Table, and just trim it a tad. Lynne adds sour cream just before molding and chilling to lend a real depth of flavor, which works quite well in my humble opinion. This whole thing takes about 15 minutes total (plus a few hours' chilling), and as you can see here, you don't even have to unmold to enjoy.

Vanilla Panna Cotta with Fresh Cherries and a Pomegranate-Cherry Reduction
(Serves 2-3; total time, about 4 1/2 hours [includes chilling])

1/3 tsp unflavored gelatin
2 tsp cold water
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2-3 Tbsp sugar
Pinch salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup sour cream

Fresh cherries, pitted
1 cup pomegranate-cherry juice
2 Tbsp sugar
  1. Place water in a small bowl and sprinkle gelatin over. Let stand 5 minutes to soften. Meanwhile, combine the cream, sugar, salt, and vanilla in a small saucepan and set over medium heat. Warm mixture, make sure everything is dissolved, but do not boil! Once combined, stir in gelatin mixture and whisk it in. Take off heat and let sit 5 minutes, then gently stir warm cream mixture into sour cream, a little at a time.
  2. Divide between 2-3 ramekins, coffee cups, or other serving dish of your choice. Cover and stash in the fridge at least 4 hours.
  3. While your panna cotta is chilling, put the juice and sugar in a small pan over medium heat. Bring to boil and just let 'er rip for a long while, until reduced by 2/3rds and syrupy.
  4. Serve panna cottas with chopped cherries and fruit reduction.

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