Happy 12.12.12 folks! Yup, it’s the last repetitive date we’re having during this lifetime. What makes it so special? Nothing much unless we ourselves choose to turn it into an extraordinary event or just another excuse to celebrate. And if you believe in the End of the World stuff, it might be your one last chance to do so.

The lazy me had to look no further than these cute little verrines for my 12.12.12 dessert. The very elegant Panna Cotta is one you cannot go wrong with. With the simplest ingredients, it is done well within five minutes on the stovetop but has the looks of a professional dessert ordered from an expensive restaurant. Top with any fresh fruit coulis to create this sensational summer beauty which bears the stamp of my very favourite David Lebovitz.

PANNA COTTA & BLACKBERRY COULIS

Ingredients:

4 cups (1l) heavy cream (or half-and-half)

1/2 cup (100g) sugar

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, or 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

2 packets powdered gelatin or agar agar (about 4 1/2 teaspoons)

6 tablespoons (90ml) cold water

250 g blackberries, fresh or frozen

1/4 cup (40g) icing sugar

Method:

  • Heat the heavy cream and sugar in a saucepan or microwave.
  • Once the sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
  • If using a vanilla bean, scrape the seeds from the bean into the cream and add the bean pod.

  • Cover, and let infuse for 30 minutes. Remove the bean then rewarm the mixture before continuing.
  • Lightly oil eight custard cups or ramekins with a neutral-tasting oil or some unsalted butter.
  • Sprinkle gelatin/agar agar over the cold water in a medium-sized bowl and let stand 5 to 10 minutes.

  • Pour the warm Panna Cotta mixture over the gelatin/agar agar. Stir until it is completely dissolved.
  • Divide the mixture into the prepared cups, then chill them until firm, for at least two hours.
  • For the coulis, blend or process 200 g blackberries with icing sugar until smooth. Set aside.

  • Run a sharp knife around the edge of each Panna Cotta. Unmold each onto a serving plate.
  • Pour 1 tbs of blackberry coulis over each Panna Cotta and top with a fresh blackberry and mint leaves.
  • You can also pour the Panna Cotta mixture into wine goblets and serve them without unmolding.

Cold & Creamy Panna Cotta

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