This Vanilla Panna Cotta has to be one of my favorite desserts! It is delicious just by itself, but paired with the Balsamic Strawberries, it is just out of this world! It's rich, smooth, and creamy but light at the same time, and so elegant. The strawberries add fresh, sharp flavor to it! This is a lighter version of the original dessert (the original recipe calls for 3 cups of heavy cream!!!) since I'm trying to keep up those new year's resolutions! It is still just as delicious, you just don't have to feel as guilty! If you've never tried Panna Cotta before, it's basically an eggless custard dessert that's served cold, often paired with berries, caramel or chocolate. And don't be scared of using the balsamic vinegar on the strawberries, it's just a small amount, and it brings out amazing flavor in them! If you're looking for a special Valentine's Day dessert, or just feel like having something sweet, give it a try! Here's the recipe...
Vanilla Panna Cotta
with Balsamic Strawberries
*Makes 4 to 6 servings*
(Recipe adapted from The New York Times and Ina Garten)
YOU WILL NEED:
1 1/2 cups half and half
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 oz (1 package) unflavored gelatin
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
1 pint (2 cups) fresh strawberries, sliced
1/2 tbs powdered sugar
1 1/4 tbs balsamic vinegar
(Optional - dash of pepper)
1. In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup of heavy cream and the gelatin, and let it sit for 5 minutes without the heat on, then turn the heat to low and cook until the gelatin has dissolved.
2. Now add the remaining heavy cream, half and half, and sugar, and cook until all the sugar dissolves, then add the vanilla and continue stirring for a while.
3. Divide the mixture between four to six custard cups or shallow glasses, and chill the Panna Cotta for about 4 hours, until it has set (serve it within 24 hours).
4. To make the Balsamic Strawberries, slice them in halves or quarters and place them in a medium sized bowl. Add balsamic vinegar and sugar (and pepper if you are using it) and toss, until all the strawberries are coated with the sugar and vinegar. Let the strawberries sit for at least 30 minutes at room temperature, so they soak up all the flavor! (The longer you let the strawberries sit, the darker they will become, and the more intense their flavor will be. I only let mine sit for half an hour.) Once you are ready to serve the dessert, spoon the strawberries into Panna Cotta dishes (garnish with mint if you have some!) and enjoy your dessert!
I hope you all love this dessert as much as we did!
Happy Cooking, Everyone!
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