Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Buttermilk Panna Cotta

A cool and refreshing Italian treat on a summer evening with the wonderful hit of concentrated strawberry flavor from Roasted Strawberries.

1½ cups half and half or whole milk
½ cup sugar
Grated zest of 2 lemons or 1 lemon and 1 orange, best to use a microplane
2 cinnamon sticks
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
3 tablespoons cold water
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup buttermilk
Fresh strawberries or Roasted Strawberries
Fresh mint for garnish

1. Warm the half and half, sugar, zest, and cinnamon sticks in a non-reactive saucepan. Once the mixture begins to steam, remove it from the heat, cover, and let steep for 30 to 60 minutes.
2. In a medium-sized bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water and let it soften for 5 minutes.
3. Rewarm the infused half and half, then pour it through a strainer over the softened gelatin, stirring to dissolve it completely. Press the zest to release as much of the liquid as possible. Add the salt. Let the mixture cool.
4. Stir in the buttermilk. (If the mixture is steaming hot when you add the buttermilk, the mixture can separate. If it does, whisk it vigorously until it is smooth.)
5. Lightly grease 5 or 6 4-ounce ramekins with unflavored oil. (If you use smaller ramekins, you’ll make more desserts.) Divide the panna cotta mixture evenly among the prepared ramekins and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
6. To serve, run a sharp knife around the inside edge of each ramekin to release the panna cotta. Invert each one on a serving plate. Spoon the strawberries (roasted or fresh) around it. Add a sprig of fresh mint if you like.

5-6 servings in 4-ounce ramekins
Adapted from David Lebovitz’s Ripe for Dessert
He serves his with a blueberry sauce.

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