Panna Cotta with Warm Fruit
Silky panna cotta, flavored with a little lemon and vanilla, is molded and served with a warm mixture of summer fruit. Mint adds a fresh zing. The panna cottas are garnished with crisp tuile spoons.
- Panna Cotta
- Gelatin Sheets - 2 sheets, and 2 cups ice cold water
- Gelatin Powder - 1/2 packet, unflavored, and 2 tablespoons cold water
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 2-1/4 cups, 40% milk fat
- Sweetened Condensed Milk - 1/2 cup
- Sugar - 1/2 cup
- Grated Lemon Zest - 1/2 teaspoon
- Vanilla bean - 1
- Wafer Spoons
- Unsalted Butter - 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick)
- Confectioner’s Sugar - scant 2/3 cup
- Bread flour - 1/2 cup
- Egg Whites - 4, at room temperature
- Warm Summer Fruit
- Sweet Butter - 1 teaspoon
- Sugar - 1/4 teaspoon
- Apricot - 1, pitted, skinned, and cut into 6 wedges
- Nectarine - 1, pitted, skinned, and cut into 6 wedges
- Peach - 1, pitted, skinned, and cut into 6 wedges
- Cherries - 6, pitted, skinned, and cut into 6 wedges
- Honeydew Melon Balls - 18 small
- Honeydew Melon Puree - 2 tablespoons
- Mint leaves - 3 medium,cut in narrow julienne
- Simple Syrup - 1 tablespoon
- Grappa - 1 teaspoon
- Mint sprigs - 6
- Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
To prepare the panna cotta: Place the gelatin sheets in a bowl with the water to cover. Stir the gelatin with your fingers until it has softened. Set aside. Or, dissolve the gelatin powder in the 2 tablespoons of water in a heatproof measuring cup. Warm in a microwave on medium power setting for 30 seconds; stir. If all the gelatin has not yet dissolved, warm again in 15 second intervals until the gelatin is dissolved.
In a non-aluminum bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and whisk well. Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the mixture, then drop in the pods. Place the bowl over a boiling double boiler and continue to whisk. Cook until the temperature of the mixture reaches 200 F. Squeeze the gelatin sheets dry and stir them into the heated cream until they are completely dissolved. Or, stir the dissolved powdered gelatin into the heated cream. Strain the mixture and put into 4-ounce molds. Cover each with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
To prepare the spoons: Preheat the oven to 325 F. Turn a baking sheet over and cover with a silicone liner. Cut a stencil to make a single full-sized spoon from heavy single-thickness cardboard. Attach the balloon whip to an electric mixer.
Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of the mixer, beating on slow speed 3 to 4 minutes, until creamy. Add the flour and mix for 1 more minute at slow speed. Add the egg whites in a slow, steady stream while the mixer is running, then beat for 3 to 4 minutes until blended. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve.
Place the stencil on the liner and spread batter over the stencil, smoothing it evenly with an off-set spatula. Lift the template and repeat to use all the batter; the spoons may be made in batches if necessary. Bake for 4 to 5 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges. Remove the pan from the oven and let the spoons cool slightly. Lift one with a spatula and place in a teaspoon to shape; let cool in the teaspoon. Repeat with the others. The wafers become firm in about 10 minutes. Store in an airtight container until needed.
To prepare the fruit: In a small non-stick pan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the sugar and fruit; toss and cook for 1 minute.
To serve: Unmold each panna cotta onto a chilled plate, preferably square glass plates. Arrange the warm fruit around the panna cottas. Place the wafer spoons into the panna cotta molds. Garnish each with a mint sprig. Dust with confectioner’s sugar.