BERKELEY (KCBS) – Panna cotta is a long-time favorite desert that seems to be making a comeback. Originally Italian, panna cotta literally means “cooked cream.”

That translation is a bit of an oversimplification, but captures what the recipe essentially is—cream that’s just slightly thickened to a delicate, wonderful texture and then usually flavored with a little bit of something.

Mine uses dark rum and vanilla, but lately I’ve seen panna cotta show up on menus with all kinds of interesting flavors such as elderflower cordial or other kinds of liqueurs.

This recipe is fairly simple, straight-forward and plain version that you can modify as you like.

KCBS Food and Wine Editor Narsai David:

Narsai’s Panna Cotta with Strawberries
Serves 6

2 tsp plain, unflavored gelatin
3 TBS water
2 cups cream
4 TBS sugar
1 TBS vanilla extract
1 TBS dark rum (or 1 tsp additional vanilla extract)
2 baskets of strawberries, washed and hulled
½ cup Port or red wine
sugar to taste

Start out with 2 tsp of plain, unflavored gelatin softened in a small saucepan with 3 tsp of water. Then add 1 cup of the cream and1 cup of the sugar and heat slowly over a medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugar and gelatin dissolve.

Remove it from the heat and stir in the remaining cup of cream, the vanilla and dark rum. Or substitute an extra tea spoon of vanilla for the rum. Stir it around, pour into 6 small round ramekins to chill in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.

Slice the strawberries, or any other kind of fruit you like, pour the wine over them and sweeten to taste with sugar.

To serve, dip the ramekins into hot water for a few seconds and run the tip of a paring knife around the edge. Place a 6″-7″ plate over the ramekin and flip it over to turn it out. Carefully ladle the strawberries and their juice around the edge of the panna cotta on the plate.

Narsai David is the KCBS Food and Wine Editor. He has been a successful restaurateur, chef, TV host, and columnist in the Bay Area spanning four decades. You can hear him Saturdays at 10:53 a.m., 12:53 p.m. and 4:53 p.m., and at 2:53 a.m. Sunday on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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