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Captain Cavedweller and I were invited to an Italian themed potluck last week. Trying to think of a fun dessert to make, I finally decided on Panna Cotta. The custard is so yummy, especially when paired with one of my other favorites – raspberries!

I didn’t have any leftovers, so I guess it was a hit!

The cast of characters

Begin by sprinkling gelatin over 1/4 cup cold milk.

Add sugar to the cream

Add in vanilla, stir well and cook for about four minutes or until sugar is dissolved.

Side Note: This is where I must fess up. I had a brilliant plan to make mini panna cotta molds using a  muffin-tin and cupcake papers. That plan was not so brilliant in reality as it was in my head. Which is why there are no photos between this point and the point of making the coulis. I just couldn’t bring myself to show you the disaster. I ended up taking the panna cotta to the potluck in espresso cups, which actually turned out quite lovely and fun, but I did manage to salvage one of the molds to take the photo you see here today. If I was going to go the mold routine again, I’d opt for silicone cupcake molds. I think that might work quite well. Maybe. Or paper cups – little Dixie cups. Or not…

Okay, on with the recipe…

Set aside a handful of raspberries for garnish. Sprinkle with sugar (I tried Raw Sugar and that was a good choice!) and let set over night along with the panna cotta. Cover with plastic wrap or put in a resealable bowl.

Mix berries, sugar and lemon juice in a heavy pan and cook on medium heat until berries are thick – about 10-15 minutes.

Cook until thick and bubbly and the delicious berry smell makes your knees a bit wobbly.

Run the berries through a strainer to get all the seeds and pulp out. Use the back of a spoon to press the juice through. Or if you are one of those lucky people with nifty kitchen gadgets that I drool over, you can do this whole process in your food processor.

Pour over Vanilla Panna Cotta and enjoy! You can save the coulis, tightly covered in the fridge for about four days. It is also yummy on ice cream, pudding, yogurt, pound cake, a spoon…

Vanilla Panna Cotta

A silky custard, made without egg…

1 3/4oz envelope unflavored gelatin

1 cup cold milk, divided

1 ¾ cups heavy cream

¼ cup granulated sugar

1½ tsp. vanilla extract

Sprinkle gelatin over ¼ cup milk in a small bowl. Stir until moistened. Let stand five minutes (it will be lumpy).

Cook heavy cream, granulated sugar and vanilla in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally for about four minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and add gelatin mixture, stirring until completely dissolved. Add in  remaining ¾ cup milk. Stir in then pour mixture into six 4-ounce dessert glasses or wineglasses. Cover with plastic wrap and chill eight hours. If you have some forms that are easy to get treats out of, you can pour panna cotta into them. I would recommend silicone or something that is easy to work with.

Top with Berry Coulis, and  fresh raspberry or two for garnish. If you wanted to go wild, you could also shave some chocolate on top or drizzle a bit of chocolate sauce.

Berry Coulis

2 cups fresh raspberries

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup lemon juice

Rinse berries then cook with sugar and lemon juice over medium heat in  heavy saucepan until sauce is thick, stirring occasionally. This is going to take about 10-15 minutes.

When the berries have cooked down and thickened, run through a strainer to remove the seeds and pulp. Press it through with a spoon. The end result is a magically wonderful sauce that you literally want to eat with a spoon.

Enjoy!

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