Friday, April 21, 2017

Beet Panna Cotta And Citrus Mousse #LocavoreEaster


When I was trying to decide on a dessert for our Easter brunch, I was inspired by the bounty of beets I had just picked up from Serendipity Farms. I wanted to make a naturally bright pink dessert and settled on panna cotta. That is definitely my go-to, easy-to-make-ahead-of-time dessert. Some of my other versions include Espresso Panna Cotta, Cardamom Panna Cotta, Salted Juniper-Dark Chocolate Panna Cotta, and Matcha Panna Cotta. It's so easy to get creative. And the beets added that lovely pop of color.

Funny story - I purchased PEEPs with the thought to use them to hold our place cards. Look right! The Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf was insistent: "Mom, PEEPs are not for decorating. They are for eating."

Well, I'm not sure I agree with that. But he plunked them on top of my beet panna cotta and citrus mousse. And I can admit: they were cute.

Beet Panna Cotta And Citrus Mousse

Ingredients makes eight 4-ounce servings
Panna Cotta
  • 3 envelopes gelatin
  • 1/2 C cold milk
  • 4 C organic heavy whipping cream
  • 4 T beet puree* (I used two organic red beets)
  • 1/4 C organic granulated sugar
  • PEEPs for garnish, optional
Citrus Mousse (the curd should be made the day before serving)
  • 1 T zest from an organic lemon (I used a Meyer Lemon)
  • ½ C fresh squeezed Meyer lemon juice
  • ½ C butter, cold and cubed
  • ½ C organic granulated sugar, divided
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ C organic heavy whipping cream


*To make the beet puree, cook your beets (roast, steam, or boil), peel, then blend or process until a smooth paste forms.


Procedure
Panna Cotta
Pour heavy cream into a medium sauce pan and heat until bubbles begin to form along the edges of the pan. Remove from the heat and whisk in the sugar and beet puree. Gently heat again until the sugar dissolves.

Pour the milk into a large mixing bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the surface. Let bloom for 5 minutes. Pour the gelatin mixture into the warm beet-cream mixture and stir until completely dissolved.


Divide the mixture between your serving containers and let chill until set, but at least four hours.

Citrus Mousse
Bring lemon zest and juice, ¼ C butter, and ¼ C sugar to a simmer over medium heat in a medium saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat.

Whisk egg yolks, egg, and remaining ¼ C sugar in a medium bowl until pale and thickened, approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1 ladle full of the lemon mixture to the eggs to temper them so they don't curdle. Then, whisking constantly, slowly pour the remaining hot lemon mixture into egg mixture. 

Transfer everything back to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until curd is thickened. The whisk should leave a trail in the curd, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. 

Remove from heat and add remaining ¼ C butter, whisking until melted and curd is smooth. Transfer curd to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic directly onto surface to prevent a skin from forming. Chill until cold, at least 2 hours.

To Serve
Whisk cream in a small bowl till soft peaks form. Gently fold the curd into the whipped cream. Spoon mousse over panna cotta. Garnish with a PEEP, if using! When I make this again - not for Easter - I will garnish with some organic calendula blossoms. The bright pink and bright orange will look great together!

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