Panna cotta in Italian literally means "cooked cream." It's basically an eggless custard thickened with gelatin and served cold. Our version adds an infusion of strawberries and orange for a festive and light springtime dessert.
Because gelatin can impart a rubbery texture to desserts, a minimal amount is used here; this allows you to make the dessert a day or two in advance. By the same token, this panna cotta is much slower to set up and needs at least 8 hours in the refrigerator, so plan accordingly.
sliced ripe Earthbound Farm Organic Strawberries
orange (grated zest)
Grand Marnier or Cointreau
unflavored gelatin (less than 1 packet)
heavy (whipping) cream
heavy (whipping) cream (as garnish, optional)
Sugar (as garnish, optional)
crème de menthe liqueur (as garnish, optional)
Fresh mint sprigs (as garnish, optional)
Combine the strawberries, sugar and orange zest in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Purée until very smooth. Add the buttermilk and purée for 1 minute. Place a fine mesh sieve or chinois over a bowl. Add the purée and press firmly to extract the pulp and seeds. Discard the solids and set the strained purée aside.
Place the Grand Marnier in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the liqueur. Let sit 5 minutes to soften the gelatin.
Place the 3/4 cup heavy cream in a small pot and bring just to a simmer. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the gelatin mixture. Add the strawberry-buttermilk purée and whisk to combine.
Divide the panna cotta between 6 martini glasses or wine goblets. Refrigerate until firm, at least 8 hours.
Optional garnish: Whip the remaining 1/2 cup cream with the sugar and crème de menthe until it forms stiff peaks. Pipe or spoon a dollop of the cream atop each panna cotta, and garnish with a sprig of mint.
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