It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. What can I say? I was all set and ready to talk about Wednesdays with Geng and Chip # 20 and our awesome dessert but something went awry with our experiment. And it all went something like this:
It was a disaster of catastrophic proportions. You should see our kitchen and our poor new baking stone. I didn’t know baking stones can stain like that. It was ugg..ly. Sometimes we forget that we are novice cooks, hah!. No worries, we’ll revisit that chapter again one day but in the meantime let’s talk about how the pannacotta saved the day.
When you have a day off with no one to play with you get bored. I took the day off on Wednesday to use up some leave time that I would otherwise lose if not used. I hate these use it or lose it policies let me tell you. Chip is losing a couple of days because he’s so busy at work he can’t take any time off. Grrr, don’t even get me started on that. Breathe in… breathe out… serenity now. There. So as I was saying, I was all alone in the apartment futzing around wasting time with tomfoolery and shenanigans when I came up with the idea of surprising him with dessert for dinner that night. So I made pannacotta.
Pannacotta essentially means ‘cooked cream’. It is a simple Italian dessert from the Northern Italian region of Piemonte. Simply put, it is simmered cream, milk, and gelatin, flavored with vanilla. How easy is that? Pannacotta can be eaten by itself but traditionally it is sweetened with berries or other fresh fruits.
A light refreshing dessert and perfect for summer. This pannacotta with strawberry coulis totally saved the day.
Panna Cotta with Strawberry Coulis
This recipe has been revised to yield two servings (double everthing for four servings)
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin such as knox
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup fresh strawberry
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in a little bit of water
2 tablespoons amaretto or brandy
Separate 1/4 cup of milk and sprinkle gelatin and let bloom. In a small saucepan simmer the rest of the milk, heavy cream, and sugar. Bring to a slow boil then remove from heat. Add the gelatin mix and vanilla. Stir and set aside to cool.
Slice the strawberries in small pieces. In a separate saucepan over moderate low heat combine the strawberries, sugar, and water. Add the cornstarch. When it reaches simmer and all the sugar is dissolved remove from the heat. Add the amaretto. Puree in a food processor then run through a sieve for a smoother coulis. Yields ¼ cup.
Pour the pannacotta in two molds. I used my martini glasses but you can use other molds such as ramekins. Place in the refrigerator for two hours or until ready to serve. Top with the strawberry coulis. Enjoy.
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