Recipe: Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Apricot Gelée

Panna Cotta, an Italian dessert of silky, sweetened cream set with gelatin, is all at once simple, classic and elegant.  It is, at its best, subtle, not overly sweet, and the perfect way to end a meal on a light and refreshing note.
Panna cotta comes together quickly and can be molded in any type of vessels you choose -- from ramekins to demitasse, martini glasses to mason jars.  I like to compliment my panna cotta with a thin layer of gelée -- a gelatin stabilized glaze made from fresh fruit.  Apricots are in season right now, and are bursting with summer sweetness, so I chose to do an apricot gelée.  You can use my recipe with any type of fruit you'd like.  
Here are some photos of panna cottas I've made in the past with a variety of gelées and vessels:
Vanilla Panna Cotta with a Honey Gelée and Bee Pollen
Lemon Panna Cotta, no gelée
Meyer-Lemon Panna Cotta, Strawberry-Rhubarb Gelee

I like to decorate my desserts with edible flowers, especially in summer and springtime. My theme fo…


Halloween brings out such creativity in people! And it can help to relieve our pop-culture induced angst too.

Take for example, my friend Chris (known him since elementary school ~ reconnected recently on Facebook):  His lovely wife Michelle has been often told that she looks like Kate Gosselin.  Okay, so it's a step up from being an Octo-mom look-a-like, or told you have the fashion sense & IQ of the Housewives of Orange County.  Nonetheless, Michelle could do without the comparison.  When Chris and Michelle are out together the problem becomes compounded:  "Hey look, it's Jon and Kate!" (even though Chris bears no resemblance to Jon except the fact that they're both Asian).   

But then, this Halloween, Chris and Michelle needed costumes.  It took some convincing, but once Michelle was on board, her creativity took over.  The couple went to Kohls and Ross to buy "Gosselinesque fashion" (Chris coined this new term).  It was even Michelle's idea to cut out the little kids and attach them to sticks so they could each carry around four kids at all times.  Heavens!  Just look at that picture ~ Michelle's hair is spot-on! 

Chris said, "It was pretty interesting how many people were looking at her all night saying "Wow, she really looks like Kate!". " 

I love their creativity, their sense of fun, and ability to laugh at themselves, at pop-culture and at stereotypes. 

Will you be dressing up for Halloween?  Do tell...

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