Sunday, November 22, 2009

Bittersweet Chocolate Panna Cotta with Raspberry and Port Sauce

By: Karen Jull

The name of this classic Italian dessert simply means "cooked cream." Port wine and balsamic vinegar add complexity to the raspberry sauce. A good quality imported bittersweet chocolate with a minimum of 70 percent cocoa is preferred. Take the panna cotta out of the mold just before dinner to allow it to come to room temperature to maximize flavour. The dessert can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Panna Cotta
1 tbsp (5 mL) vegetable oil
2 cups (500 mL) whole milk
2 tbsp (25 mL) unflavored powdered gelatin
2 cups (500 mL) whipping cream
½ cup (125 mL) sugar
8 oz (250 g) bittersweet chocolate, grated
2 tsp (10 mL) pure vanilla extract

Raspberry Port Sauce
¾ cup (175 mL) ruby port
½ cup (125 mL) granulated sugar
2 tbsp (25 mL) aged balsamic vinegar
2 cups (500 mL) raspberries

1. Oil six 1-cup (250-mL) ramekins or glass custard cups.

2. Pour milk into medium bowl. Whisk in gelatin until dissolved, about 1 minute.

3. Whisk cream and sugar in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves and mixture comes just to a boil. Remove from heat.

4. Add chocolate and vanilla, and whisk until melted. Whisk warm chocolate mixture into gelatin mixture until homogeneous.

5. Divide mixture among custard cups. Cover and chill for 2 hours or until set.

6. For sauce, combine port, sugar and aged balsamic vinegar together in a skillet and bring to a boil. Boil for 8 to 10 minutes or until ½ cup (125 mL) sauce remains.

7. Remove from heat and gently stir in raspberries. Cool to room temperature.

8. To de-mold, panna cotta, pour enough hot water into a larger dish to come halfway up sides of cups. Let stand 1½ minutes. Take custard cups out of water; wipe bottoms dry. Invert each onto plate, shaking gently to dislodge panna cotta onto individual servings plates.Spoon sauce over panna cottas. Garnish with fresh mint.

Serves 6


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