Very Berry Panna Cotta

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I am back in Umbria, though not for long as we leave for Piemonte tomorrow. We are planning to explore the smaller towns throughout the region for six days, and will leave visiting Torino for another trip since it is a city that you would need a few days to explore. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the states visiting family, but one of the things I enjoyed most was cooking with my grandkids. My daughter’s two youngest love to help out in the kitchen, and now at eight and thirteen years old, they certainly are good helpers in the kitchen. My granddaughter loves making desserts, so one day we made this very berry panna cotta together. Panna cotta is a type of pudding made with cream and gelatin and can be flavored in a variety of ways. I decided that we would use frozen mixed berries for our version, and to dress it up a bit, we topped it with a mixture of whipped cream and gelatin, then a little berry syrup, and finally decorated it with fresh berries. You can use ceramic ramekins to make this dish although I like to use clear glasses when I make a layered panna cotta to show off the layers.

This dessert is wonderful to make during the warmer months as it is very light and refreshing, and it is one of my favorite desserts to make when entertaining as it needs to be prepared ahead of time to allow it to set. Any dish that I can make ahead of time when I am having guests over is a winner in my mind! We doubled this recipe when we made it since we had a large group for dinner, but this recipe serves four.

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Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2016

Very Berry Panna Cotta

Ingredients:

  • 2 Teaspoons Unflavored Gelatin
  • 3 Tablespoons Cold Water
  • 1 1/2 Pounds Frozen Mixed Berries, Thawed & Divided
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Whole Milk
  • 1 Cup Heavy Cream

Topping:

  • Berries From Above
  • 1 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 Teaspoon Unflavored Gelatin
  • 2 Tablespoons Cold Water

Garnish:

  • Fresh Berries
  • Small Mint Leaves

Directions:

  1. Combine the berries and sugar in a a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.
  2. Cook, mashing the berries with a spoon until syrupy, about 10 minutes.
  3. While the berries are cooking, place the cold water in a small bowl, then sprinkle the gelatin on top and let stand for five minutes.
  4. Strain the berry mixture through a fine strainer, removing 1 cup of berry juice to use for the topping.
  5. Return the berry mixture to the pot along with the milk and heat until small bubbles form along the edges.
  6. Add the gelatin mixture and whisk until completely dissolved.
  7. Remove from the heat and stir in the heavy cream, stirring until blended.
  8. Pour the mixture into individual ramekins or glasses, and refrigerate for three hours.
  9. Once the panna cotta has begun to set, make the topping.
  10. Place the water in a bowl and sprinkle the gelatin on top.
  11. Whip the cream until soft peaks form.
  12. Add 1/2 cup of the berry juice along with the softened gelatin and beat until blended.
  13. Spoon the topping on the panna cotta with a spoon or pastry bag and decorative tip.
  14. Refrigerate the panna cotta until the topping has set, another three hours or up to eight hours.
  15. To serve, spoon a little of the remaining berry syrup on top of each ramekin, then garnish with fresh berries and mint leaves as shown.