Friday, June 18, 2010

Strawberry Rhubarb Panna Cotta

On a recent trip to the St. Jacobs Market, I was delighted to find some beautiful Ontario strawberries. They were the first local strawberries I had found this season. I had a craving for panna cotta so I thought, what better way to celebrate my find.

Panna cotta (cooked cream) is an Italian desert, which is found on almost every trattoria menu, similar to creme brulee in France. The desert is shamelessly simple and fail-free.

Strawberry Rhubarb Panna Cotta

panna cotta:

2 cups heavy (whipping) cream
2 cups half and half cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 t vanilla or 1 one vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2 packets gelatin
6 T cold water

2 cups rhubarb, chopped
2 cups strawberries, hulled and chopped in half
1/2 cup sugar
2 T Chambord liqueur

Dissolve gelatin by sprinkling over cold water and letting the mixture stand for about 5 minutes.
Heat cream, half and half and sugar over medium high heat until sugar is dissolved.
If using vanilla: turn off heat and whisk in vanilla.
If using vanilla bean: split pod in half, lengthwise, scrape all off the seeds out of the pod and place pod and seeds in with cream mixture while still over heat. Cook cream until it almost comes to a boil. Remove from heat cover and let stand for 20 minutes. Remove pod from cream, re-heat cream until very hot but not boiling.
Pour hot cream over gelatin mixture and whisk well so that the gelatin is fully dissolved in the hot cream.
Pour into eight, well-oiled ramekins or teacups
Refrigerate for at least 4 hours (or overnight) so that panna cotta has time to set-up
To unmold: run a knife around the edge of the panna cotta, turn upside down, pat the bottom of the ramekin and it should pop out!

To make sauce: add all ingredients to a large sauce pan over medium high heat. Cook until fruit is very soft. Pure half of the liquid in a food processor until very smooth and add back into pan to combine with the remaining fruit. Cool well and serve with panna cotta (also fantastic with pancakes, french toast and waffles!)

Based upon Secrets From My Tuscan Kitchen by Judy Witts

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