There are certain desserts that I have a predisposed prejudice against. It isn’t really fair, they haven’t done anything to me to make me not like them. The problem is with me, and my unwillingness to try them. Panna Cotta is a good example. Panna Cotta in Italian means cooked cream. Essentially, it is cream and sugar melted to together with gelatin to make it set. Creamy jello. Doesn’t that sound like it might not be good? It is, I promise.
Earlier this summer, I went to Alt NYC at the home of Martha Stewart Omnimedia. It was the most thoughtful and beautiful event that I have ever been to. As you can imagine it would be when we are talking about my idol Martha. The lunch was so beautiful and delicious. For dessert, they had mini panna cotta with lemon curd in the cutest little glasses. I knew that I couldn’t be rude and not try it, and just as to be expected, it was amazing. Lesson learned. Creamy, light, and so fresh tasting.
The beauty of a dessert like this one, is that you can make it in just about any flavor you can dream up. Vanilla, chocolate, citrus, anything you like. This version is non-dairy,
if you would like to make it vegan, you can remove the non-dairy creamer and use all almond milk. (This can be dairy-free, but not vegan or even vegetarian because of the gelatin. Oops! Thanks to the kind reader for pointing that out to me. I completely forgot!) I made a berry sauce to go on top of my panna cotta. I added a little sugar to some fresh berries and cooked them until they released their juices. I finished it with a splash of amaretto to match the flavor of the almond panna cotta. This is the perfect make ahead dessert. I put mine in half-pint mason jars, and love how portable these are. How cute would these be for a picnic?
2 cups Almond Breeze almond milk
2 1/2 teaspoons powdered gelatin
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 vanilla bean, seeded
1 cup nondairy creamer
2 Tablespoons amaretto or 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
Amaretto Berry Sauce:
2 cups mixed berries
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon amaretto
Pour 1/2 cup almond milk into a small saucepan. Sprinkle gelatin over and let stand for 5 minutes to soften.
Whisk in remaining almond milk, creamer, amaretto, vanilla, and salt. Taste for sweetness, add more sugar if needed.
The berry sauce keeps for a few days in the fridge. Panna cotta can be made 3 days in advance. This recipe is adapted from the book Bakeless Sweets.
- Pour ½ cup almond milk into a small saucepan. Sprinkle gelatin over and let stand for 5 minutes to soften. Warm over low heat, add sugar and vanilla. Cook until gelatin and sugar has dissolved completely. Turn off heat. Whisk in remaining almond milk, creamer, amaretto, vanilla, and salt. Taste for sweetness, add more sugar if needed.
- Pour the mixture into 6 ramekins or dessert glasses. Cover with plastic wrap. Chill for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight. Panna cotta can be made 3 days in advance.
- Add berries and sugar to a saucepan. Cook over low heat until the berries break down, about 10 to 15 minutes. Push berries through a sieve and add amaretto. This keeps for a few days in the fridge. Top panna cotta with berry sauce.