Panna cotta is one of my favorite desserts to make for a dinner party for several reasons. First: it's easy to make. Second: it's a recipe that is easily adaptable to fit whatever creative bent you're on. Third: it's not too sweet. Fourth: you can make it ahead of time so you're not scrambling to finish a dessert at the end of a party. Oh, and I did mention easy, right?!?
Your basic panna cotta can take as few as three ingredients. I decided to make this one a little bit more fancy with a juniper infused cream and some chocolate.
Ingredients makes sixteen 2-ounce servings
- 2 envelopes gelatin
- 1/2 C cold milk
- 4 C organic heavy whipping cream
- 2 T juniper berries
- 1/4 C organic granulated sugar
- 1-1/2 C dark chocolate, chopped (use a good quality chocolate with, at least 64% cacao solids)
- fleur de sel for serving
Crush the juniper berries with a mortar and pestle. Set aside. Pour heavy cream into a medium sauce pan and heat until bubbles begin to form along the edges of the pan.
Add the crushed juniper berries and let steep for at least thirty minutes. Strain out the juniper berries and set cream aside. *NOTE: Most of the people at my table couldn't pick out the juniper flavor. I could, but maybe you will want to let it steep for longer for a more pronounced flavor.*
Pour the milk into a large mixing bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the surface. Let bloom for 5 minutes.
Heat the infused cream until it begins to steam. Do not let it boil. Add in the chocolate and make sure all the pieces are submerged. Let stand for 3 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Pour the mixture over the gelatin and stir until completely dissolved.
Pour the mixture into your serving containers, leaving a little bit of space at the top - in case you want to top it with any sauce - and let chill until set, but at least four hours. Serve cold. Just before serving, sprinkle with some fleur de sel as garnish.
This was a great dessert to end our Wine & Fine Swine dinner for Brian. I didn't have a cake with candles. But the dapper dudes sang with a tray full of panna cotta in front of them!