Recipe: Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Apricot Gelée

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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…

Holiday Ornament DIY: How to Make Paper MAGNOLIAS from Vintage Sheet Music


Last year I shared a little online tour of my home decorated for the holidays.  The one thing that garnered the most comments and compliments were the vintage sheet music magnolias that adorn my Christmas tree.  Many readers requested a tutorial, and I'm pleased to say that I now have one available, for free, for you to enjoy and to make your own glittery magic blossoms at home.


To print this tutorial, scroll down to the very bottom of the post and click on the little icon that says "PRINT FRIENDLY".  It will open the post in a new screen that allows you to print and edit as you see fit.


PAPER MAGNOLIA PROJECT

Materials
  • Petal Template printed on cardstock (free download HERE)
  • 3 Pages Vintage Sheet Music (from which you will cut 10 Large Petals, 6 Small Petals, and make 1 small ball)
  • Matte Mod Podge or craft glue (I like Mod Podge because it dries quickly)
  • 9 pieces silver floral wire, 20-22 gauge, 8" lengths
  • Glue Gun (optional)
  • German Glass Glitter or micro-fine glitter, silver
  • Floral Foam or piece of styrofoam to hold pieces while they dry.
  • Green floral tape (optional)

PREPARING THE PIECES

Step 1:  Print the Magnolia Petal Template on cardstock:

Step 2:  Cut out Large and Small templates.




Step 3:  Fold one sheet of music in quarters.  Trace and cut out large petal.  This will yield 4 petals.  Repeat with another sheet.  You will now have 8 petals.  Cut remaining sheet in half.  Fold one of the pieces in half.  Trace and cut the large petal template.  This will give you your remaining 2 petals, for a total of 10 Large Petals.


Step 4:  Fold remaining piece of sheet paper in thirds (lengthwise), then in half (widthwise).  Trace and cut the Small Petal Template.  This will yield 6 Small Petals.

Step 5:  Crumble one of the remaining scraps into a small, tight ball (the size of a small marble).


ASSEMBLING THE PETALS


Step 1:  Completely coat one side of one large petal with glue.  Lay a piece of wire down in the center of the petal.  Cover with a second large petal.  Pick up the petal/wire piece and pinch lightly around wire to make sure the two petals have adhered to one another, especially at the bottom where the wire extends.  Repeat with remaining petals.  You will end up with 5 wired petals.



Step 2:  Repeat the same procedure for the small petals.  You will end up with 3 wired petals.



Step 3:  To attach the paper ball to the final piece of wire, I like to use a dab of hot glue in the center of the ball.  Once glued, pinch ball to give a good shape.  It doesn't need to be a smooth ball.  In fact, a few cracks and contours looks better for the finished product.



GLITTERING




Step 1:  I like to use a flat brush to lightly edge each petal with glue.  Then, hold petal over a shallow pan or piece of paper.  Shake glitter on to petal.  Shake off excess.  Place glittered petal in a piece of foam to dry.  You can also use a pot or glass filled with rice, dried beans, or salt to hold the pieces while they dry.  Repeat glittering procedure with all of the large and small petals.  Finally, dab some glue on the wired ball and sprinkle with glitter.



Step 2:  Allow pieces time to dry -- approx. 20 minutes.


ASSEMBLING THE MAGNOLIA

Step 1:  Give each petal an upward curve by gently bending the wire in each petal.  You can perfect the shape when the entire piece is assembled.  





Step 2:  Start putting the flower together by grouping the wired ball and one small petal.  Wrap the two wires around one another so that the two pieces connect at the top (where the wire meets the paper).

Step 2:  Add another petal by wrapping that wire around the others.  Continue with remaining small petal.



Step 3:  Add the large petals in the same fashion.  




Step 4:  When complete, you should have a magnolia flower with 5 large petals and 3 small petals grouped around the ball stamen. Bend and adjust pieces as you see fit to perfect the form. All the wires should be wrapped together to form a single "stem". For a completely finished look, wrap the wire "stem" with green floral tape.  You can then use the wire "stem" to wrap the magnolias around tree branches.  

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