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…

Recipe: The Perfect Peach Cobbler


Continuing along on my peach-fueled trajectory...
...today I bring you one of my all-time favorite desserts:  Peach Cobbler!

Forget pie.  That's right.  You heard me.  Forget pie.  This cobbler is so buttery, crispy-crumby, cakey, ooey-gooey and profoundly peachy that you can forget about that old Plain Jane.

Just try it.  Thank me later.


 

 Perfect Peach Cobbler


For the peaches

  • 4 cups fresh, ripe peaches (peeled, sliced and diced)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons cornstarch

For the cobbler topping

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (that's 2 sticks), softened (plus a TB butter for buttering the pan)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoons raw or organic sugar (slightly larger grain that regular)
  • Vanilla bean ice cream 

Preheat oven to 350°F

Butter a 9"x9" baking dish and set aside.

In a medium bowl, toss peaches with the 1/2 cup sugar and cornstarch.  Transfer to the baking dish and level out.

With an electric mixer, cream together the butter and 2 cups sugar.  Beat in the eggs and vanilla till smooth.

Place a sifter over the bowl of butter mixture.  Into the sifter, add flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.  Sift directly into the bowl with the butter mixture.  Beat just till a stiff dough forms.

Spoon by the tablespoon-full on top of the peach mixture, until the whole surface is covered.  Sprinkle with the raw or organic sugar.  This will create a perfectly crispy sugared crust.

Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until golden brown.  Let cool for 30 minutes before serving.  Serve with a generous scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.


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