Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Peaches Panna Cotta / Jell-o Salad

The story goes like this. I received the perfect thank you note from a friend. A beautiful photograph of fresh peaches and an inspiring recipe for Peaches Panna Cotta. I patiently waited until peach season and finally made the recipe that I couldn't stop thinking about. I had a few raspberries, frozen from last year that needed to be gotten rid of in order to fill the freezer with this year's crop (read: hoard) Soooooo, I made peaches panna cotta with a raspberry coulis as dessert for a grilled pizza dinner.

Of course, I first had to make the peach puree. Not difficult and the perfect way to use the peaches at the market that are ready the same day. The puree is whisked into cream, sugar and gelatin as usual. What threw me was the whipped cream.

Panna cotta, or "cooked cream" is typically just that, cream heated with sugar and a little gelatin. Voila - panna cotta. In this recipe though, after the initial process you fold in softly whipped cream before filling the mold.

It's color is the palest of peach. With the addition of the whipped cream it takes on a cloud-like look. Ethereal really which is perfect because to me peaches have an ethereal flavor that no other fruit possesses.

Here is the finished product. I turned some out as is traditional but this one I left in the ramekin. The plated one looked a little 80's restuarant but I guess this one does, too. The kids loved it. I am on the fence. The peach was so subtle that too much raspberry overpowered it. However, without it the peach sort of fell flat. The other thing that I wasn't too thrilled with was the texture. It reminded me of the ever popular Jell-o dish with Cool Whip folded into it. It has a saran wrap crunch. Wad up a bunch of saran wrap into a ball and that noise is what it sounds and feels like in your mouth. Appealing, right?
In the future I'll stick with traditional panna cotta recipes. I do think that I'll hold onto this recipe though. It could become my version of a stand-by potluck dish. Based upon appearance it might be mistaken for every one's favorite Jell-0 salad. Maybe this could be my potluck offering that even the picky will eat?

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