Panna Cotta is an Italian dessert made by simmering cream and sugar together and then blending in gelatin so the texture is transformed into something that resembles a thick sweet custard. This version is a Berry Panna Cotta with sweet basil infused into the creamy mixture. It’s topped with fresh berries in a delicious basil-strawberry syrup. Panna cotta is an almost fool proof dessert It requires not much more than a quick simmer and a good long chilling in the refrigerator. Once you’ve mastered the concept the cream can be infused with anything.
- 2 cup sweet basil leaves loosely packed
- 1 package unflavored gelatin
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons lukewarm water divided
- 2 cup heavy cream
- 1 ⅓ cup granulated sugar divided
- 1 cup roughly chopped strawberries
- 1 cup mixed berries
Prepare the panna cotta: Set a few of the basil leaves aside as garnish. In a medium bowl combine gelatin and 2 tablespoons lukewarm water, swirling to dissolve; set aside.
Combine cream, ⅓ cup sugar, and about 1 cup basil leaves in a medium saucepan set over low heat; bring the mixture to a simmer. As soon as tiny bubbles begin to appear on the sides of the pan remove from heat and cover. Set aside to steep for 20 minutes. Strain the cream mixture through a fine meshed sieve into the bowl with the dissolved gelatin; stir to combine. Divide equally among eight small vessels; cover and chill at least 4 hours or overnight to set.
Make the basil-strawberry syrup: In a medium saucepan bring remaining 1 cup water and remaining 1 cup sugar to boil over high heat. Whisk until sugar has dissolved. Add remaining basil leaves and chopped strawberries and boil for about 1 minutes. Remove from heat and cover. Set aside to steep for for 20 minutes. Strain the syrup into a bottle. Store covered in the refrigerator until ready to use.
To assemble: Remove the panna cotta from the refrigerator and uncover. Sprinkle with mixed berries, to taste. Drizzle on some of the basil-strawberry syrup, to taste. Garnish with reserved basil leaves and serve immediately.