The traditional Italian recipe gets a new twist this summer. It is very easy to prepare and is so refreshingly delicious that you will not be able to resist the temptation for long.
Whenever I hear words ‘Italian Dessert’, my mouth starts to water. And when it is made with probiotic ingredient (the “buzz” word these days) and then is paired with berries, how can you resist the “oh-so-good-for-you” temptation. Would you not agree with me?
Did you notice that I did not use the word “healthy” anywhere yet? Here are my two main reasons for this:
- thanks to the media and many health gurus whenever any food recipe is described as “healthy”, we either (a) skip it completely, or (b) approach it with the great deal of skepticism;
- or, “healthy” means guilt-free and you probably know what happens – overindulgence.
Well, I do not think that this Panna Cotta should suffer any of those fates.
Let’s see what sets this recipe apart from any other Panna Cotta recipes. It incorporates full-fat buttermilk. Yep, you heard me right: full-fat. I don’t know about you, but I would kill for the smooth, melt-in-your-mouth texture. And it is full-fat buttermilk that gives panna cotta that taste. Preferably, use organic buttermilk. Even better, if it is from pasture-raised cows. And as long as you want to boast to all of your friends that your dessert has a probiotics in it, choose the one that lists live cultures somewhere in the ingredient list.
On its own, panna cotta does not win contests in flavor. In texture, yes. What sets apart any panna cotta recipe is the sauce. And is there anyone who can refuse mouth-watering Strawberry Rum Sauce? Letting them steep in lemon juice brings out strawberry flavor even more. And addition of rum makes it almost a sinful indulgence. You can enjoy Strawberry Rum Sauce as a standalone dessert or as an accompaniment for Panna Cotta.Heads up:
- panna cotta can be made 4-5 hours before serving, but I find that gelatin sets much better if you let it sit in the refrigerator overnight
- panna cotta can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two days in the ramekins
- if serving children, omit the rum
- 1 tablespoon unflavored powdered gelatin (like Knox)
- 2 tablespoons of water
- 1 cup half and half
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- a pinch of salt
- 1½ cups buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 quart (227 g) strawberries
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons of rum
- Lightly oil four ramekins with neutral-tasting oil.
- Sprinkle gelatin over 2 tablespoons of cold water in a small bowl. The key here is to sprinkle gelatin evenly over surface of the water. Set aside for 10-15 minutes, undisturbed. Gelatin will soften and absorb all of the water.
- In a small saucepan, combine half and half with sugar and salt. Over a medium-low heat, warm the mixture, whisking constantly till sugar is dissolved.
- Add gelatin and whisk till it is dissolved. Continue stirring for another 2-3 minutes till small bubbles appear at the edges of a saucepan. Do not let the mixture boil. Remove from the heat and let it cool to about 100-110?F (37-42?C).
- Meanwhile, combine buttermilk and vanilla extract in a 1-quart measuring cup or a small bowl. I prefer to use a measuring cup since it easier to pour Panna Cotta into the ramekins.
- While whisking buttermilk, add cooled half and half mixture.
- Pour into the prepared ramekins. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or, preferably overnight.
- Depending on the size, cut strawberries into halves or quarters. Place them in a medium bowl, and add the rest of ingredients. Cover the bowl and steep strawberries for 20 minutes.
- Run a sharp knife around the edge of each ramekin. Unmold each onto the serving plate.
- Spoon strawberries on the panna cotta and drizzle with the rum sauce.