in the kitchen

in the kitchen

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Spring is in the Air

This is a recipe that works anytime of year but seems especially nice for Spring. The fresh raspberry sauce works on nearly any dessert-ice cream, crepes, pound cake, angel cake, etc.
Citrus Panna Cotta  ("cooked cream"in Italian)
2/3 cup fresh mandarin, clementine or tangerine juice
1 1/2 cups milk (whole or 2%)
1 cup cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (optional)
pinch of sea salt
3/4 cup raw sugar (or white sugar)
1 envelop (2 teaspoons) gelatin
1 recipe Simple Raspberry sauce
fresh raspberries for garnish
Place citrus juice in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Continue boiling until reduced by half to yield 1/3 cup. Meanwhile, place milk and cream in another sauce pan and heat over medium low heat stirring constantly. When milk has reached a simmer, add vanilla, ginger, salt and sugar, stir well and continue cooking over low heat, stirring frequently until sugar is dissolved. When juice has reduced, remove from heat and slowly sprinkle in gelatin while stirring with a whisk. Allow to stand 4 or 5 minutes while gelatin softens. Then add citrus mixture to milk mixture and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and pour into prepared dish or dishes. (For a molded presentation, lightly spray 4 to 6 custard cups with cooking spray oil; otherwise use 6 small ramekins or one larger serving dish.) Refrigerate panna cotta for at least 2 hours or overnight. Serve with raspberry sauce and fresh berries. Makes six 1/3 cup servings.
Simple Raspberry Sauce
1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
Wash berries and place in a small, narrow bowl. Add powdered sugar and use a hand blender to process until smooth. Spoon over panna cotta just before serving.

Hints: The milk and cream mixture never boils, only simmers. You can alter the ratio of cream and milk for a richer taste. Or use half and half. The raw sugar flavor really comes thru in this dish and you may prefer regular white sugar. If there are lumps in the gelatin juice mixture, press thru a fine mesh sieve before adding to the milk mixture. Classic panna cotta is vanilla flavored but it can be flavored with fruits (mango, berry, peach, apricot, pear, etc), chocolate, almond, coconut, herbs (lavender, basil, lemon grass, etc.)  a combination of the above or something else. There are beautiful molds available in specialty cooking stores that are great for panna cotta. This is a nice dish that can be made a early in the day or the day ahead of a special occasion.

Panna cotta is such a refreshing and light end to a meal. The Unicorn in San Francisco serves a lovely mango one with apricot sauce. I hope you try making your own panna cotta and let me know about flavors you create.

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