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MyCookbook Member: MarthasArchive
Recipe Category: Dessert
Recipe Preparation Level: moderate
Panna cotta means “cooked cream” in Italian, and refers to a creamy, molded custard. Unlike many custards, panna cotta contains a bit of gelatin to lend it a firm consistency. Terrance Brennan of the New York City restaurant Picholine adds leaves of lemon verbena to his recipe for a hint of flavor and fragrance, and he complements each finished portion with a fresh strawberry sauce.
3 gelatin sheets
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups cream
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup lemon-verbena leaves, loosely packed
3 large egg whites
Nonstick cooking spray
1/2 cup orange juice
3 cups ripe strawberries, hulled
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier, orange liqueur, or orange juice
1. Soak the gelatin leaves in a bowl of tepid to warm water until very soft.
2. Combine milk, cream, seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean, 1/3 cup sugar, and the lemon-verbena leaves in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
3. Place the egg whites in a bowl. Slowly whisk 1/4 cup of the heated cream mixture into the egg whites. Return the tempered egg-white mixture to the saucepan, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Cook until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon, about 2 minutes, and remove from heat.
4. Meanwhile, lift softened gelatin leaves from water, and squeeze out water. Add gelatin to thickened cream mixture, and stir to dissolve. Let cool for about 1/2 hour. Pour through a fine strainer.
5. Lightly spray six 6-ounce timbale molds or 6-ounce paper cups with cooking spray. Slowly pour the cooled mixture into the molds, filling them 3/4 full. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
6. Before serving, combine orange juice, remaining 1/2 vanilla bean plus seeds, and 1/3 cup sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook until the sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Discard the vanilla bean, and set aside to chill. Combine syrup and 1 cup strawberries in blender. Pureé until smooth. Pour through a strainer, and set aside.
7. Slice remaining 2 cups strawberries, place in medium bowl, and combine with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar and Grand Marnier. Let stand at room temperature for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally.
8. Run a sharp paring knife around outside of containers of set panna cotta. Carefully turn molds out onto serving plates. Spoon a small amount of strawberry sauce around each panna cotta. Garnish with strawberries and lemon-verbena leaves. Serve with cookies, if desired.
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