Panna Cotta with Raspberry (or Blackberry) Coulis

Source: Micki Seibel, July 2012

Source: Micki Seibel, July 2012

This luscious dessert is fabulous topped with colorful fruit. Much of how it will taste is really dependent on what you top it with. Go crazy. My favorites include strawberries, raspberries, or cherries. As I post the recipes for fruit toppings, I will link to them from this recipe in the “Recipes for Fruit Toppings” section below.

Ingredients

  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • kosher salt

Directions

Heat the gelatin and water over low heat. The gelatin is fully dissolved when the mixture turns clear.Source: Micki Seibel, March 2012

Heat the gelatin and water over low heat. The gelatin is fully dissolved when the mixture turns clear.
Source: Micki Seibel, March 2012

  1. In a small saucepan, sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water and let stand for one minute to soften.
  2. Heat the gelatin and water mixture over low heat until the gelatin is dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat.
  3. In a large saucepan, bring the cream, half and half, and sugar to a boil over medium high heat.
  4. Remove the large saucepan from heat and stir in the gelatin mixture, vanilla, and a large pinch of kosher salt.
  5. Divide the cream mixture among 8 ramekins and let cool.
  6. Refrigerate the ramekins, covered, for a minimum of 4 hours and preferable overnight.
  7. To plate, dip the ramekins, one at a time, into a bowl of hot water for 3 second. Run a thin knife around the outside edge and turn over onto a small plate. The panna cotta should slide out easily on to the plate.
  8. Top with fruit and serve.

How Not to Screw It Up

  1. When you are boiling the cream, don’t let “medium heat” fool you. One second it’s slowly heating, and the next it’s a boiled over mess on your stove top. Watch it carefully.
  2. Make sure you use medium heat and not high heat. You want to raise the temperature of the cream to boil slowly. Otherwise, you may risk curdling the cream. Ick.
  3. I strongly recommend letting the panna cotta refrigerate overnight to ensure that it fully sets. You don’t want to risk trying to plate it and discover that the bottom half is still liquid.

Raspberry or Blackberry Coulis

This berry sauce is an excellent topper to panna cotta, ice cream, or chocolate cake. Traditionally, it’s always been raspberry coulis, but I find blackberries to be even better. Since the fresh blackberries that are sold in the grocery stores are picked before they sweeten, they are often too bitter to eat by themselves. By adjusting the amount of sugar to the tartness of blackberries, you can create a very berry sauce that is better than the blackberries alone.
If covered, the coulis should keep for 2 or 3 days in the refrigerator, so you can make it ahead of time.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups fresh raspberries or blackberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • handful of fresh berries to garnish

Instructions

  1. Mix the raspberries or blackberries with sugar and lemon juice in a blender or food processor.
  2. Pour the mixture through a sieve into a bowl to filter out the solids (optional).
  3. Serve over your panna cotta or other dessert of choice.

How Not To Screw It Up

  1. When you are boiling the cream, don’t let “medium heat” fool you. One second it’s slowly heating, and the next it’s a boiled over mess on your stove top. Watch it very carefully.
  2. Make sure you use medium heat and not high heat, and err on the side of less heat. You want to raise the temperature of the cream to boil slowly. Otherwise, you may risk curdling the cream. Ick.
  3. I strongly recommend letting the panna cotta refrigerate overnight to ensure that it fully sets. You don’t want to risk trying to plate it and discover that the bottom half is still liquid.
  4. For the coulis: The straining of the solid is optional. Basically, you’re straining out the seeds, but leaving them in gives a more natural fruit texture to the final product, so I leave them in.
  5. For the coulis: In place of sugar, you can use honey (in a smaller quantity to taste) to sweeten the berries.