Tuesday, July 26, 2011
My husband and I just spent two glorious weeks in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Hubby's family built a beautiful cabin on Lake Michigan in the U.P. (Michiganders know that U.P. is an abbreviation for Upper Peninsula) and just to make you all jealous here is a picture from the porch of the cabin, looking at Lake Michigan:
While at the cabin, I had the chance to cook a little bit with my lovely mother-in-law and her very dear friend Gail. I love cooking with other women in my family and learning from them. Gail showed me how to make a Panna Cotta with summer berries. Although the batch looks small, we made enough to feed about 10 people. The Panna Cotta was extremely creamy with wonderful vanilla flavoring. The blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries were a perfect addition and a great way to incorporate fresh Michigan berries.
Panna Cotta with Summer Berries
1 envelope unflavored gelatin (about 1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons cold water
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup half and half (we ran out and used lowfat milk, which was a fine substitute)
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups of fresh summer berries (we used strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries)
1/2 cup sweet dessert wine
In a very small saucepan sprinkle gelatin over water and let stand about 1 minute to soften. Heat gelatin mixture over low heat until gelatin is dissolved and remove pan from heat.
In large saucepan bring cream, half and half, and sugar just to a boil over moderately high heat, stirring.
Remove pan from heat and stir in gelatin mixture and vanilla. Divide cream mixture among eight 1/2 cup ramekins and cool to room temperature (we placed the mixture in a large bowl instead). Chill ramekins, covered, for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Meanwhile chop berries into bite size pieces. Place berries into a small bowl and pour the dessert wine over top.
Mix to cover berries in the wine and allow to marinate until serving time. If serving in ramekins, dip one at a time into a bowl of hot water for 3 seconds. Run a thin knife around the edge of each ramekin and invert onto a small plate. Garnish with fresh berries. If serving in cup like ours, scoop the mixture into serving cups and garnish with berries.