Skip to main content

Somedays, I crave a dessert that is both beautiful and delicious, creamy and tart, intricate yet simple. On those days where I really want to impress, I like to choose something that involves beautiful layers of color and complementary flavors.
I love the creamy yet firm texture of a panna cotta. It is an incredibly easy dessert to make, easier than making vanilla pudding from scratch, so long as you measure your ingredients carefully (too much gelatin and the result is rubbery).
I also absolutely adore the flavor of passionfruit. I remember the first time I had passionfruit flavored juice (some blended thing by tropicana) and I had to have more. The first time I tasted passionfruit curd, I almost cried. Then I found out how very difficult and expensive it is to buy them up north in America. If I can find one at my local grocery store, they are about $2.50 a piece. For this recipe, you will need 2 cups of the juice, which is something I just cannot afford. (And that is saying a lot, because I break my budget for my culinary projects very often).
As is so often the case, I found a solution on Amazon. I bought a very reasonably priced bottle of passionfruit juice concentrate by Maguary there. I am sure the flavor of the gelee suffers from not being made with fresh passionfruits, but it did capture the flavor for me and my New England palate. One bite and I am transported to someplace tropical. If you can find and afford them, use fresh ones (Pass the seeds through a sieve and collect the juice; you will want 2 cups worth).
The final component of this dessert is a fresh raspberry sauce. Raspberries are my favorite berry, and the sauce is an electric orange-red that compliments the orangey-yellow gelee and creamy white panna cotta so well. The flavors meld deliciously as well, and that checked all of my boxes.
Admittedly, this takes a while to assemble, but most of that time is waiting for things to set in the fridge. While you wait, perhaps revisit the amazon website and get yourself a few things from off of your wishlist, as I did. (Only half joking).
I found that they kept well in the fridge, covered, for a few days after I made them, so make them ahead of time for that special dinner party. 

Panna Cotta
1 Envelope of Unflavored Gelatin
2 Tbsp of Water
1 cup of Half and Half
1⁄2 cup of Heavy Cream 
1 tsp of Vanilla Extract or Vanilla Paste, or 1 vanilla bean
2 Tbsp of Granulated Sugar 

Place the water in a small bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water. Allow the mixture to soften, or bloom, for about five minutes. 
In a small saucepan, combine the heavy cream, half and half, and sugar. If you are using a vanilla bean, split it lengthwise with a knife; scrape out the seeds with the back edge of your knife. Add the seeds and the pod to your cream mixture. Bring  a simmer over medium heat. Turn the heat off and add the gelatin mixture, whisking until the gelatin completely melts.  
To ensure there are no granules in your mixture, and to remove the vanilla pod, if used, pour this mixture through a sieve into a bowl. If you are using vanilla extract or vanilla paste, add it now and whisk to combine. 
Divide the mixture between four dishes (ramekins, mini trifle bowls, whatever you like). Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. 
Recipe credit: Laura Vitale

Passionfruit gelĂ©e 
1 3/4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin (from an envelope) 
1/4 cup water

2 cups passionfruit juice concentrate (I found Maguey brand on amazon and had a good result) 
1/3 cup sugar
Combine passionfruit juice concentrate and sugar in a small saucepan. Cook on low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside to cool completely.
Sprinkle gelatin over water in another small saucepan and let it stand 1 minute to soften, or bloom. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the gelatin is fully dissolved. This will take 1 to 2 minutes. Remove your gelatin mixture from the heat and whisk in 1 tablespoon of the passionfruit mixture at a time until gelatin mixture is cooled. Then, whisk in remaining passionfruit mixture. 
Pour a thin layer of the passionfruit gelee over the fully set panna cotta. Cover and chill until the gelee is fully set, at least 1 hour or overnight.
You will have extra passionfruit gelee.

Raspberry Sauce
1 1/2 pounds fresh raspberries

1/4 cup white sugar

2 teaspoons lemon juice, or more to taste

In a high powered blender, like a Vitamix, combine the raspberries, sugar and lemon juice. Process until smooth,then pass the mixture through a sieve to remove the seeds. Pour or spoon a thin layer of the sauce onto your panna cotta and passionfruit gelee dessert. Adorn with fresh raspberries and decorating sugar. Add a mint leave if you want to really gild the lily. Serve.

You will have left over raspberry sauce, lovely to eat with the passionfruit gelee with all manner of breakfast foods.


Popular posts from this blog

Raspberry Pomegranate Jam

Tis the season to be making homemade gifts! Pomegranates are in season and their juice is a festive deep ruby red color. I knew I had to make them into a jam to give away. Straight pomegranate flavor is a little tart for me; I added raspberries for the texture of their seeds and their sweetness. This is a very simple recipe to make and will yield 6 to 7 8 ounces jars of jam or 12 to 14 4 ounce jars, if you like to give away sample sizes during the holidays. Enjoy! Ingredients: 3 1/2 cups pomegranate juice 1 cup mashed raspberries 7 cups sugar 1 tablespoon butter 1 1/75 ounce package Sure Jell Method: Sterilize your jars and lids. Set aside. In a heavy bottomed large stock pot, add the pomegranate juice, raspberries and butter. Mix well. Add in the sugar. Bring to a full rolling boil then stir in the Sure Jell. Allow to boil hard for 1 minutes. Remove from the heat and skim off any foam. Ladle into the sterile jars, twist on the lids and pr

Peek-a-boo Squares

My grandma, Mimi, taught me this recipe. I used to make this with her and my mother as a child. It is my very favorite dessert. It is incredibly easy to make, and even easier to eat. My favorite part of making this as a child was dusting every bar generously with snowy white powdered sugar.  My favorite version of this dessert uses canned blueberry pie filling; I vastly prefer Libby brand over the store brand. You can make blueberry pie filling from scratch with sugar, cornstarch, bleberries, etc. but using the canned stuff is easy in a pinch and is much for nostalgic for me. Plus, I don’t notice a vast improvement over my homemade blueberry pie filling and the Libby brand; it just takes me longer to put this dessert together.  I have been known to whip up a pan of these Friday night and have them disappear by Saturday afternoon. Be warned, these things are addictive! Ingredients: 3 cups of all-purpose flour 2 cups of granulated sugar 4 eggs 2 sticks of

Samosas with Yogurt Sauce

I love exploring many kinds of cuisine in my kitchen because I can control the spice level, and in the case of this recipe, the use of cilantro. Cilantro lovers out there- sub it info the parsley here. I have the gene that makes cilantro taste like soap, which limits my ability to enjoy some dishes in restaurants, but is easily rectified in my own kitchen. I hope you enjoy! Ingredients:  3 russet potatoes 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped 2 teaspoons curry powder 5 ounces peas Six 8 inch flour tortillas 4 ounces Greek yogurt Oil, salt, pepper, vinegar 4 tablespoons butter Method: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet. Scrub potatoes and cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces. Place in a large saucepan with a generous pinch of salt and enough water to cover by 1 inch. Cover and bring to a boil over high; uncover and cook until tenderDrain potatoes and transfer to a bowl.  Heat 2 tablespoons oil in reserved saucepan over medium. Add chopped garlic and al