Berries and Cream

  • Wow, the month of August has flown by! Although I haven't posted much this month, I have made a few good things. I'll share two desserts that I like to make in the summer, both of which I made recently.

The first is a recipe for strawberry granita that was featured in Bon Appetit a few years ago. A granita is an icy frozen dessert, which is perfect for a hot day, like we have been having in Southern California lately. The best part is there is no special equipment required.

  • Strawberry Granita

  • 1 pound sliced, hulled strawberries (about 2 cups)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups cold water
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup chilled whipping cream (optional)

  • Puree strawberries, sugar, salt, water, and lemon juice in blender until smooth. Strain into 8x8x2 inch metal baking pan. Cover with foil and place in freezer. Stir with fork every hour until frozen, about 4 hours. At the four hour mark, scrape granita down length of pan forming icy flakes. Return to freezer. Simply spoon into dessert dishes when ready to eat. If using cream, beat whipping cream until firm peaks form. Divide cream among dishes. Spoon granita over and serve immediately. 

Note: Granita can be made two days ahead.

Serves 6

    The other recipe I would like to share is Panna Cotta. It is an Italian, custard-like dessert made with cream and set with gelatin. It only takes a few minutes to make, and it can be infused with a variety of flavors and eaten alone or topped with fruit, chocolate or other sauces. I've even made it with candied kumquats. My favorite way to make it is simply with vanilla bean and some macerated strawberries. It's the perfect dessert to serve to guests as it looks pretty and can be made ahead. Here is how I make it.

    Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Strawberries

    2 cups heavy cream
    1 cup whole milk
    6 tablespoons granulated sugar plus 1 teaspoon
    1 packet unflavored, powdered gelatin
    1 vanilla bean
    Pinch of salt
    3 cups strawberries, quartered
    1 teaspoon lemon juice

    Place the milk in small saucepan. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds. Add the seeds and the pod to the milk in the saucepan. Sprinkle gelatin over milk and let stand 5 minutes. Then place saucepan over medium heat and cook stirring until gelatin dissolves but milk does not boil. Add cream, 6 tablespoons sugar and salt and stir until sugar dissolves, about 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Pour through strainer into large liquid measuring cup (or anything with a spout as it make it easier to pour). Pour the strained mixture into glasses or ramekins. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, at least 6 hours.

    30 minutes before serving, combine the strawberries, lemon juice and remaining sugar. When ready to serve, remove the panna cottas from the refrigerator and top with strawberries.

    Notes: Can be made up to two days in advance. I usually put the panna cotta in pretty glasses so I can serve it directly in them, but, for a different and more sophisticated presentation, allow the panna cottas to set in ramekins. When ready to serve, dip the bottom of the ramekin quickly in hot water and run a parring knife around the edge of the ramekin. Invert onto plate and spoon strawberries over the panna cotta. 

    Serves 4

    1 comment:

    1. Yum . . . I'm appreciating the last few days left of summer. Now onto fall foods :)