Saturday, November 17, 2012

Panna Cotta with Berry-Wine Sauce

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I feel like I have to do this more and more lately, but I do apologize that my updates to this site have been so infrequent these past couple of months. I really do wish I had more time, but I think you’ll find that this recipe was worth waiting for!

This past weekend, to celebrate the finish of my second Culinary Foundations class, I decided to prepare something that is not covered as part of my school curriculum: panna cotta. This rich and delicious mixture of cream, sugar, and gelatin hails from Northern Italy, and is actually extremely simple to make. If you’ve never tried it, think of panna cotta as a kind of cream-based Jell-O, only a bit more firm. Served with a mixed berry and wine sauce, it’s a dessert you’ll be sure to never forget!

Recipe adapted from David Lebovitz

Difficulty: Easy
Active Prep Time: About 15 minutes
Total Prep Time: 2 – 3 hours
Special Equipment: Blender or food processor
Serves: 8

Panna Cotta Ingredients:

  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 packets powdered, unflavored gelatin (About 4½ tablespoons)
  • 6 tablespoons cold water

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Sauce Ingredients:

  • ½ cup red wine
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • About 2 cups mixed berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, etc)


1. In a medium sized bowl, add the cold water, then sprinkle the gelatin on top. Let stand for about 10 minutes.

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2. Meanwhile, in a medium-large sauce pot, heat the heavy cream and sugar. Bring to a simmer (Do not boil!) and stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and add the vanilla extract.

3. Lightly oil 8 custard cups, ramekins, muffin tins, or whichever vessel you intend to pour your liquid, with a neutral tasting oil (like Canola). Set aside.

4. Pour the warm panna cotta mixture into the bowl with the gelatin. Stir until gelatin is completely dissolved.

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5. Divide the mixture into the prepared cups. Refrigerate until firm (at least 2 hours).

(When ready to serve, start making the sauce)

6. Mix the wine and sugar together in a sauce pan, simmering over medium heat.

7. Simmer until the wine mixture has reduced about half way, then remove from heat and scrape into a bowl to cool completely.

8. Rinse the berries (and hull the strawberries), then put them in a blender or food processor. Pour the cooled wine syrup into the blender as well, then puree.

(Serving time!)

9. Run a sharp knife around the edge of each panna cotta and turn them out onto a serving platter. Drizzle the berry-wine sauce over the top and garnish with extra berries. Serve and enjoy!

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