Italian panna cotta (which just means "cooked milk") are wonderful dinner party desserts. The custards that are thickened with gelatin for the characteristic consistency. This recipe calls for using powdered gelatin, which is a quick and easy alternative to the more traditional sheets that require softening before cooking. The sauce is made by cooking fresh strawberries with balsamic vinegar (a classic pairing) as well as brown sugar. Fresh mint is a bright garnish.
- 1 tablespoon gelatin powder
- 2 tablespoons water
- 200 milliliters cream
- 2 teaspoons refined sugar (or fructose)
- 1/2 vanilla pod
- 8 strawberries
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- mint leaves (to garnish)
- For the panna cotta, place gelatin powder in a bowl and add two tablespoons of water.
- Place cream and refined sugar in a saucepan.
- Halve vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out seeds with a sharp knife.
- Add vanilla bean seeds to the cream. Heat the cream and stir often.
- Do not boil. When mixture starts to thicken, remove from heat and stir in gelatin.
- Stir until gelatin is completely dissolved.
- Brush panna cotta molds with water, add cream mixture and refrigerate for at least 2 hours until set.
- For the sauce, rinse strawberries, drain and slice.
- In a saucepan, heat strawberries, sugar and balsamic vinegar over medium heat. Simmer and stir occasionally.
- Let mixture cool completely. To serve, arrange strawberry balsamic sauce on top of panna cotta.
- Garnish with mint leaves.
- Tip: If using plastic molds, dip mold briefly in hot water before removing panna cotta.