I will be working a bit on the presentation, adding a cut strawberry on the top, as well as a garnish of of a chocolate covered strawberry on the side. But essentially, this is the dish I will be serving.
Here's my thought process...
The dessert needs to be individually plated. meaning it should not be a cut piece of a cake. Remember, it is a luxury meal, so large desserts that are cut and served are out. I looked over my body of work, and I just didn't have anything ready to go. So, off to the all mighty search engine to do a little research.
Another very important criteria was to serve something that can be made and plated in advance. Long as I make room in my fridge, I can just pull these out and serve at 8 PM, after making these at noon. Without a sous chef, having the evening flow is very important. Moving from one course to the next can not be a 30 minute event (or even a 10 minute event). Dishes should be cleared and new courses served seamlessly.
Next, I wanted a dramatic look. The contrast of the stark white panna cotta and the blood red strawberry sauce is pretty. But the panna cotta, when removed from the ramekin, has a smooth rounded look that is unusual. Looks a bit like melting ice cream.
And finally, it needed to fit into my theme. All of my menu items have a European wine country origin. I am fudging a bit, with this being Italian and most of the other recipes are French, but wine country is general enough to include both.
So, Penna Cotta it is, and after making a test version, I am pretty happy. One more advantage, this will be a BIG meal. I know to serve small portions, but seven courses is still 7 courses. The penna cotta is very light Much less filling than a pudding or custard. And if you don't dip the sauce, it has little heft at all. Remember, a really light smooth milkshake. A perfect top to a big meal without weighing yourself down.
OK, this is two parts, the Penna Cotta and the Strawberry sauce...
Here's what I did...
1 tbsp of gelatin powder
1 cup of light cream
1/4 cup of sugar
1 1/4 cup of milk
1 tsp of vanilla
2 cups of strawberries
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1/4 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of water
- Combine 2 tbsp of water in a small bowl and sprinkle in the gelatin powder and set aside to bloom.
- Combine the cream, milk and sugar in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until sugar dissolved.
- Add in the gelatin and continue to stir until gelatin dissolved. Add in vanilla.
- Pour the mixture into small cups or ramekins, let cool to room temperature and refrigerate until set.
- To remove, warm the outside of the ramekins in a warm water bath for just a couple minutes, will flip over easily.
- For the sauce, Combine strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice in a saucepan. Cook until the strawberries are broken down. It will take about 20 minutes.
- Remove from heat and run through a food processor to get an even consistency
- Refrigerate the sauce to let it thicken.
- Once ready to serve, drizzle the sauce over the panna cotta, or make a bed and rest the penna cotta on top.