Friday, October 9, 2009

Panna Cotta and Grape Gelée

I really hate the feeling of walking into the market and seeing that all my favorite fruits have vanished into retirement for the season. My heart sank yesterday as I rushed around the corner to my organic market only to realize that figs are beginning to slip away. And no more nectarines. Sigh. But there are lovely bunches of grapes reclining everywhere!

I love good grapes, especially the Bronx grapes we get here in August. And who can resist the irresistible mustiness of Concord grapes? So here I use grapes in service to a molded dessert by topping a Panna Cotta with an easy and good Grape Gelée.

The recipe has to be staged a bit, but other than that, it’s very easy to do. I first got the idea from a recipe I saw in Gourmet a few years ago. And speaking of Gourmet, I was pretty shocked to hear that it will be no more. Although it has been a flagship for good writers and interesting food journeys for nearly 70 years, Condé Nast has decided to fold it. It was a uniquely American publication that defined the culinary landscape in new ways over the decades, so it is sad to see its passing. But sad as it is, we can only look forward to a future of continued fervor online for the wonderful culture of food and the incredible pleasure it brings to all of us.

Bench notes:
- This would be good to try with sliced plums, fresh figs, cherries or blueberries.
- If you don’t have ramekins, you can just set these up in some glasses as a parfait.
- I used four 4 1/2” ramekins. You can probably get 5 or 6 servings if you use 3 1/4” ramekins.

Panna Cotta and Grape Gelée
based on a recipe from Gourmet Magazine
4 servings


vegetable oil for greasing ramekins
1 C 100% Concord grape juice
1 1/4 t unflavored gelatin
2 t fresh lemon juice
1 T port (optional)
1 C seedless red grapes, sliced in half

Lightly oil four 4 1/2” ramekins.

Sprinkle gelatin over 2 T grape juice in a small dish and let stand a couple of minutes to soften. Set the bottom of the dish in simmering water to melt the gelatin. Add to remaining grape juice and lemon juice (and port, if using) and combine thoroughly. Divide grape gelatin among the ramekins. Line the bottom of each ramekin with the sliced grapes. Place ramekins in the freezer for about 45 minutes or until set.

Panna Cotta

2 C plain yogurt
3/4 t vanilla
1 t fresh lemon juice
1 3/4 t unflavored gelatin
2 T water
1 C heavy cream
1/2 C packed brown sugar
pinch of salt

A few minutes before the gelée is ready, whisk together yogurt, vanilla and lemon juice until smooth. Set aside.

Place 2 tablespoons of water in a small dish. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water. Let sit for a few minutes to bloom. Bring the heavy cream and brown sugar to a slow simmer over moderately low heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Set the bottom of the dish of bloomed gelatin in a pan of simmering water to melt, then whisk into cream mixture. Add the cream and pinch of salt to the yogurt mixture and whisk until thoroughly combined. Pour over set gelée and chill in the refrigerator overnight, or several hours until firm.

To unmold, run a clean very thin sharp knife or small metal spatula along the edge of the ramekins. Then one at a time, dip the bottom of the ramekins in a small bowl of very hot water for 6 – 10 seconds, or long enough to feel some warmth on the bottom of the ramekin but not too long to begin melting the gelatin. Place a plate over each ramekin and invert panna cotta. Gently lift off ramekins. Serve at room temperature.


Heather said...

i love the colors on this. just amazing!

Barbara said...

I agree- I love a panna cotta with a gelée; did a post last March about a basil-infused panna cotta and passion fruit gelée I had tried (it was delicous) and just recently had another in a restaurant in Miami- again basil panna cotta but topped with roasted fruit. I think your idea of including a fruit IN the gelée makes it more interesting, prettier and tastier. Love the idea of using grapes.

vanillasugarblog said...

my heart drops when I see my jumbo organic strawberries are gone from whole foods :-(
your grape gelee is gorgeous

Cannelle Et Vanille said...

as simple as it is to make, panna cotta is definitely one of my favorite desserts to eat. always so fresh and light too. love the tanginess of the yogurt but the richness of the brown sugar. a must try!

Jane said...

Though I've never made anything like this (yet) I must say it's lovely and looks refreshing. Speaking of Gourmet, add me to the list of readers who were completely taken by surprise. I think it's sad. It makes me value even more the gigantic 1950 Gourmet cookbook that I have. It's unlike any other cookbook I've ever seen, with astoundingly various recipes, each one explained with a brevity that is quite astonishing. At least there will be a huge body of Gourmet work to refer back to in the future.

jk said...

The grapes suspended in the gelee is a beautiful image. The combination of creamy and gelee is delicious.

Diana H said...

That's a beautiful looking dessert.

Ares download said...

Mmm...I've never heard of this, but it looks so delicious! If I give you my address, will you send me some?

ceiling fans said...

This just looks very inviting. Would like to have some.