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Char's panacotta with sour cherry topping

Thank you Char for forwarding us this yummy sounding recipe.  I just need to find the time to give it a go!

These panna cottas (Italian for cooked cream) are smooth, light and mild

molded desserts set off by a bright, intensely flavored cherry compote. The

recipe calls for a vanilla bean, which yields the best flavor, but you can use

extra vanilla extract instead; just be sure it’s top quality. The compote is also

delicious spooned over slices of angel food cake or scoops of vanilla frozen

yogurt. Recipe by Nancy Baggett.


Vanilla-Kirsch Panna Cotta with Cherry


1/4 cup kirsch (see Ingredient Note)

1 3-inch-long piece vanilla bean (see Substitution Tip)

2 1/4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin

1/4 cup sugar

2 cups nonfat vanilla yogurt, chilled

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, well chilled

2 cups fresh dark sweet cherries or frozen (thawed; see Tip), pitted

1/3 cup dried cherries

1/4 cup cherry preserves

1 2-inch piece cinnamon stick

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

2 teaspoons lemon juice


1. To prepare panna cotta: Coat six 3/4-cup (6-ounce) custard cups,

ramekins or decorative nonreactive molds (see Note) with cooking spray.

2. Combine kirsch and vanilla bean in a small heatproof glass bowl.

Microwave, uncovered, on High until hot but not boiling, 20 to 30

seconds. Let stand until the vanilla bean infuses the kirsch with flavor, at

least 30 minutes and preferably longer. Remove the vanilla bean and

reserve it to add to the compote. Sprinkle gelatin over the kirsch; stir to

mix. Let stand for 5 minutes. Microwave, uncovered, on High until the

gelatin has completely dissolved but the liquid is not boiling, 20 to 40

seconds. (Alternatively, bring 1/2 inch water to a gentle simmer in a small

skillet. Set the bowl with the gelatin mixture in the simmering water until

the gelatin has dissolved completely.) Stir the mixture until smooth. Stir in


3. Whisk yogurt, vanilla and almond extract in a medium bowl.

Thoroughly whisk in the gelatin mixture. Refrigerate, stirring occasionally,

until the mixture just begins to thicken, 15 to 20 minutes. Beat cream in a

small deep bowl using an electric mixer or whisk until soft peaks form.

Whisk the cream into the yogurt mixture just until smoothly incorporated.

Divide the mixture among the prepared cups. Cover and refrigerate until

the panna cottas are chilled and set, at least 4 hours and up to 3 days.

4. To prepare compote: Stir fresh (or frozen, thawed) and dried cherries,

preserves, cinnamon stick, lemon zest and juice in a medium non-reactive

saucepan (see Note). Split the reserved vanilla bean piece in half

lengthwise. Scrape the seeds into the pan and add the split bean. Boil over

medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the dried cherries are softened

and the juice is somewhat reduced, 6 to 8 minutes. Let cool. Cover and

refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to 3 days.

5. To serve: Run a knife around the cups to loosen the panna cotta. One

at a time, set the cups in hot water for 30 to 40 seconds, then invert onto

a serving plate, holding the cup and plate tightly together. If they don’t

unmold, break the vacuum by carefully pushing the knife under the edge

of each cup, lifting up slightly, then inverting again. Remove the

cinnamon stick and vanilla bean pieces from the compote and serve the

compote with the panna cottas.

Ingredient Note: Kirsch (also called kirschwasser) is clear cherry brandy,

commonly used as a flavor enhancer in fondue and cherries jubilee.

Substitution Tip: Increase the vanilla extract in Step 3 to 1 1/2 teaspoons

and add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract to the compote when it is removed

from the heat.

Tips: Be sure to measure frozen cherries while still frozen, then thaw.

(Drain juice before using.)