This month, for Secret Recipe Club, my mission was to browse the recipes at Searching for Spice and pick one to make and share with you. The talented chef and blogger behind Searching for Spice is Corina; and her blog is her way of recording all the delicious new dishes and delights that she creates. Sifting through her recipe files was a journey through a variety of international cuisines, for me, and I loved taking inspiration from her pictures and the variety of recipes she shares — everything from Kaju Katli (Indian Cashew Fudge) to Korean Bulgogi! I had my work cut out for me picking the perfect recipe for December, but I decided I wanted to try a new dessert — something simple, but holiday-worthy. I selected Corina’s Vanilla Panna Cotta and Mixed Berry Sauce. I love that it is super easy, make-ahead and decadently delicious!
I had heard the name panna cotta in my “research” on the Food Network 🙂 , but had never eaten or made one. I did several web searches to see variations and understand its origins. Panna Cotta is an Italian, eggless custard that is served with wild berries, caramel, chocolate sauce or fruit compotes. I was absolutely delighted at how simple it is to prepare and how easily it transforms from a yummy Friday night dessert to an elegant final course at a dinner party, based simply on how you serve it. When I served this to family and friends after our casual soup supper on Friday, I simply topped the custard with some mixed berry compote, right in the ramekins and served it that way. However, I did unmold two and plate them for more “special” presentations, to give you an idea of how versatile this easy dessert really is. Unmolding them will take a little more practice, but I think learning to do it would result in some really gorgeous plates.
The Panna Cotta recipe at Searching for Spice is designed, by Corina, to serve two people. As you can imagine, with my large crew and the company we would be serving, I needed to multiply the recipe several times. I also made a few variations to the recipe based on available ingredients and a twist I had read about and was curious to try. My version is the recipe, below. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as our family and guests did.
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 1½ cups sugar
- 3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
- 3 cups sour cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 cups frozen mixed berries
- ½ cup sugar
- juice and zest of one orange
- ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- Mix the cream, sugar and gelatin in a medium sauce pan.
- Over medium-low heat and stirring constantly, heat (don't boil) the mixture until the gelatin and sugar are completely dissolved in the cream.
- Add the vanilla and sour cream and whisk until smooth.
- Pour the mixture into ramekins, for individual serving.
- I filled 12 one-cup ramekins from this recipe. Place the ramekins on a tray and refrigerate until ready to serve (Allow at least three hours for panna cotta to fully set.)
- Serve directly from ramekins or unmold onto a plate. Serve with fresh berries, fruit compote, caramel or chocolate sauce.
- Heat berries, sugar, juice and zest over medium heat until fruit has broken down and the sugar has become syrupy and reached the desired thickness. Serve or chill and serve later.
- Place chips and cream in microwave-safe container and microwave on high heat for 30 - 60 seconds, depending on your microwave. Stir until smooth and then add the butter. Stir until butter has melted and sauce is smooth and glossy. Serve.