Don’t you just LOVE when desserts look like murder scenes?
Panna Cotta is one of the most perfect summertime desserts. Not only does it take about 5 ingredients, but it’s a dream to make, and you can make it ahead of time. Oh, and it requires only about 10 minutes on the stove! And it’s impressive to say. Panna cotta.
Panna cotta is kind of what would happen if Jell-O and vanilla pudding had a baby. It’s gelatinous, yet creamy. Almost flan-like. In Italian, “panna cotta” means “cooked cream,” and that’s essentially what it is. With sugar, vanilla, gelatin and yogurt. In Italy it’s traditionally eaten with chocolate sauce or fresh berries, or both. Some types of panna cotta can hold their shape when unmolded, this particular one is a crap shoot. If you leave it in longer than overnight, in a very cold spot in the fridge, you might be able to unmold it.
However- forget it if it’s a hot, humid day, or if your custard cups have an unusual shape. It ain’t gonna happen.
The first time I made this recipe, my mother asked for it for her birthday. I made two types; the original Ina Garten recipe with balsamic strawberries, and some with just mini-chocolate chips mixed in before chilling it. Since then I’ve made it many times over- usually for her, since it’s one of her favorite things- and never really deviated from that.
But this year I made some fresh cherry sauce with all of those beautiful Rainier Fruit Company cherries I received, and I thought that would be a delicious variation to spoon on top.
And I was correct. And you should make it too, if you were smart like me and froze some of those gorgeous cherries.