Thursday, December 23, 2010

Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Fresh Berry Compote

This is a very fun recipe. It can be found under the category of dessert or brunch (we indulged and had it for breakfast). So quick and easy I love the recipe for it's simplicity. Every person in our family gave it a 4+ rating (scale of 1-5). Ryan said he would give it a 4.79 ;) When I told him that my recipe software only could handle whole numbers he said definantly a 5!

As I was looking for variations of this recipe; I stumbled across the meaning of Panna Cotta- Italian for "cooked cream".

  • 1/4 C. water
  • 2 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 1/2 C. fresh raspberries or other ripe berries

  • 1 3/4 C. buttermilk
  • 2 tsp. powdered gelatin (1 envelope)
  • 1 1/4 C. heavy cream
  • 1/4 C. sugar
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

  • Fresh mint sprigs or fresh berries, for garnish


First, make the Fresh Berry Compote: In a small saucepan, combine the water and sugar. Stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Add 1/2 C. of the berries. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring and smashing the berries, until the mixture has a jam-like consistency. Remove the pan from the heat and gently fold in the remaining berries. Divide the compote evenly among 6 large martini glasses. Put the glasses in the refrigerator to chill.

For the Buttermilk Panna Cotta, pour the buttermilk into a medium mixing bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin powder evenly over the buttermilk and leave it to soften for 1 minute; then, stir the gelatin into the buttermilk. Set aside. In a small saucepan, stir together the heavy cream and the sugar. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil, then remove immediately from the heat. Pour the hot cream mixture over the buttermilk. Stir to combine.

Stir in the lemon juice and the vanilla extract. Leave the mixture to cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Remove the martini glasses from the refrigerator. Spoon the room-temperature panna cotta mixture evenly among the glasses. Return them to the refrigerator to chill until set, at least 2 hours. Garnish with fresh mint sprigs or fresh berries before serving.

Some other serving suggestions for Panna Cotta that I found included drizzling syrup or flavored liqueur (like creme de menth and orange caracao) or serving along side fresh sliced fruit.

This can be modified in many ways - substitute milk or cream for buttermilk, omit  lemon juice, increase vanilla or other flavorings, stir in chocolate, espresso, liqueurs, eliminate berries, etc.

Enjoy!! We sure  loved it :D


Wolfgang Puck is attributed with this recipe.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Fruited Roast

This is one of my favorite holiday foods. We have this usually during Hanukkah. It sounds a bit odd but it's a wonderful combination.



4-5 lb roast

1 ½ C. beef broth

2 medium onions

2 C. mixed dried fruit (I like raisins and apricots)

1 C. wine

Salt and Pepper to taste


Season the roast with salt and pepper. Brown on all sides in a large pot.  Add the onions and cook over medium low heat until softened and lightly caramelized, about 10-15 minutes.

Add the wine, broth, and dried fruit; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 2 ½ hours or until fork tender.

Remove roast from pot to cutting board and allow to set for 5 minutes before slicing.

Meanwhile, skim fat from gravy.

Arrange roast on a serving platter and ladle the fruit and gravy on top.


*White dry wine was the recipes original recommendation. I've made it with everything including cooking wine and it's still fabulous no matter which type.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

whole Baked Pumpkin

This is a fun and somewhat unique recipe to add to your fall menu. This makes a great side dish or dessert. Absolutely wonderful scooped out while warm with vanilla ice cream!

A whole baked pumpkin makes for a fun way to present and serve this dish.


1 medium pumpkin

6 Granny Smith apples- peeled, cored and chopped

1 C. chopped walnuts

1 (16 oz) can cranberry sauce

1 (20 oz) can pineapple chunks, drained (I have yet to add this so tell me if you try it how it tastes)

¾ C. packed brown sugar

½ C. golden raisins

½ C. dark rum (optional) (I added a little rum flavoring instead- a tsp. to a Tbsp.)

2 tsp minced fresh ginger root

1 Tbsp. freshly grated nutmeg

1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Position rack in the center of the oven.

Cut out top of pumpkin, and set aside. Scoop out seeds.

In a large bowl, stir together the apples, walnuts, cranberry sauce, pineapple, brown sugar, raisins, and rum. Season with ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon, and mix well. Spoon the mixture into the cleaned pumpkin and replace top.

Set pumpkin directly on a baking stone or baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven, or  until the pumpkin begins to soften. Remove from heat and stir, scraping the sides gently, so that the pumpkin falls into the apple mixture.