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…

My Favorite Hanukkah Latke-tizers: Latke Hors D'oeuvres, Jewish Deli Style

Latkes -- crispy, golden potato pancakes -- are a must-have for any Hanukkah celebration.  Now, imagine if you will, bite-sized latkes topped with some of your favorite things -- sour cream, dill and lox, a slice of pear with sharp cheddar cheese, or applesauce and a slice of spicy chicken sausage.  We call them Latketizers -- replacing the cracker or bread in an appetizer with a warm, crispy latke. 

My favorite latke to serve as a passed hors d'oeuvre is the Brooklyn Avenue -- named after a signature sandwich from the famous Canter's Delicatessen in Los Angeles.  This one-bite Jewish deli experience is the creation of my husband, who actually put together his first Brooklyn Avenue latketizer while lunching at Canter's.  

As we neared the end of our meal, a few delectable bites remained at the table:  a lonely little latke, a half-eaten bowl of cole slaw, and a few pieces of corned beef.  With his penchant for trying new food combinations, my husband seized the opportunity to play with food.  What resulted was a combination so delicious that we ordered another round of latkes so that everyone at the table could partake.  The Brooklyn Avenue Latketizer was born -- A dab of Russian dressing, a bite of lean corned beef, and a garnish of fresh cole slaw.  Positively addictive!

The Brooklyn Avenue Latketizer

Not much to it really.  First, you need to start with good latkes.  Use your favorite recipe.  If you don't have one, try the Cook's Illustrated (America's Test Kitchen) version.  Fry them up about silver dollar size.

Top with a dallop of Russian dressing, a generous slice of lean corned beef (I buy the whole corned beef brisket and boil it for three hours).  Finally, top with a pinch of fresh coleslaw (nice and light and not too creamy).

Serve and enjoy! 

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