Desserts, gelatins, panna cottas with strawberries and balsamic vinegar 1  Desserts, gelatins, panna cottas with strawberries and balsamic vinegar 2

Although the literal English translation is “cooked cream,” panna cotta is not cooked at all.  It contains no eggs, as do typical custards.  Instead, it is held together by gelatin, melted into a mixture of cream, milk and sugar and then chilled until firm.  The result is a silky, ethereal pudding that quivers when touched by a spoon and serves as an elegant foil for berries, caramel or chocolate, to name only a few possibilities.

For the panna cottas:

2 tablespoons water

one envelope unflavored gelatin (2-¼ teaspoons)

2 cups whipping cream

1-¼ cups plain goat’s milk or whole milk yogurt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup sugar

For the strawberries:

two 1 pint baskets strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Make the panna cottas: Pour 2 tablespoons water into a small bowl.  Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let it stand until softened, about 15 minutes.

2.Whisk 1 cup cream, yogurt and vanilla in large bowl to blend. Heat remaining 1 cup cream and ½ cup sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves and cream comes to a simmer.  Remove from  heat.  Add gelatin mixture, stirring to dissolve gelatin.  Mix hot cream and gelatin mixture into yogurt mixture in the bowl.  Divide mixture among six ¾ cup ramekins, using about ½ cup for each.  Refrigerate desserts uncovered until cold, then cover and refrigerate overnight.

3.  Make the strawberries:  Toss strawberries,vinegar,sugar and pepper in a large bowl to combine.  Let stand for 30 minutes, tossing occasionally.  Spoon strawberries over panna cottas and serve.

adapted from Mario Batali, as printed in Bon Appetit Magazine, April, 2002


SERVE WITH:  Simple almond biscotti

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