Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Panna cotta, cherry and champagne parfait (aka creamy, boozy, fruity Jello)

layers of cream, fresh pureed cherries and champagne adorn this simple, beautiful parfait

 Can I tell you a secret?  I love Jello.  Slurping fluorescent red goop between my teeth is pure pleasure.  I eat less Jello now than I did in college, but my obsession was so great that my friends bought me a whole Jello cookbook after graduation.  This is just one of the hidden junk foods that I love.  I am a total food snob with a private occasional hankering for all things processed, salty and neon colored-- I could never turn down a bright orange cheese puff. 

Call this dish what you want, panna cotta with champagne gelee, but let’s not hide the truth.  Think of it as a fancy creamy, cherry flavored Jello shot.  The recipe is very light and refreshing in this horrible heat. 

The parfait is very easy to make, it just takes some time because each layer must set before the next can be concocted.  The first layer, panna cotta, which I had never made before, tastes almost like ice cream without an ice cream maker and couldn’t be simpler to whip up.  Fresh bing cherries are not as fluorescent as red food coloring, but they are certainly more delicious.  Champagne makes a great gelatin dessert; make sure to add a pinch of sugar to help bubbles form as the parfait sets for the final layer. 

Panna cotta, cherry and champagne parfait (inspired the French Laundry cookbook)

9 inch loaf pan
pitted bing cherries to top

Panna cotta
1 packet gelatin
½ cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Cherry layer
1 lb bing cherries, stemmed and pitted
2 ½ tbsp sugar
1 ½ packets gelatin
¼ cup champagne
juice of one lemon

Champagne layer
2 cups champagne, divided
3 tbsp sugar
1 ½ packets gelatin

To make the panna cotta, sprinkle gelatin over milk and let sit 5 minutes.  In a saucepan over medium high heat, bring cream and sugar barely to a boil.  Remove from heat, add gelatin and vanilla extract and whisk until all ingredients are combined.  Add mixture to loaf pan and allow to cool and set, at least one hour.

Cherry layer.  While panna cotta is setting, in medium bowl break up cherries with hands.  Add champagne, lemon juice and sugar and allow cherries to release juices for at least half an hour.  Add cherries and juices to blender and blend until smooth, about 3 minutes.  Strain mixture.  Sprinkle gelatin over ¼ cup water and allow to sit for five minutes.  Bring cherry puree to a slight boil, remove from heat and add gelatin.  Pour mixture over already set panna cotta and allow to cool and set, at least one hour. 

Champagne layer.  Over ½ cup champagne, sprinkle gelatin.  Bring 1 ¼ cup champagne to a boil with 2 tbsp sugar to cook off alcohol.  Remove from heat.  Add gelatin and whisk until combined.  Add final ¼ cup champagne and 1 tbsp sugar (this will make it bubble).  Quickly add to loaf pan and allow to set, preferably overnight. 

When ready to serve, loosen parfait from the sides of the pan with a sharp knife run along the edges.  Run the bottom of the pan under warm water for one minute and carefully invert onto platter.  Slice and enjoy with fresh cherries. 

No comments:

Post a Comment