Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Eggnog Panna Cotta


We were having some friends over for dinner yesterday evening and I wanted a dessert that was tasty and festive but not too labor intensive. I had eggnog in the fridge, thinking I would make an eggnog bundt cake but time slipped away. Instead I make this delicous but embarassingly easy dessert. I garnished it with an easy caramel-rum sauce and fresh raspberries, and I just don't see how I could have made anything any better!

"Panna cotta" means "cooked cream" in Italian, but really you only warm it enough to dissolve the gelatin. If you are not going to unmold it, the texture will be silkier if you use only 1-1/2 envelopes of gelatin. If you don't have dark rum in your pantry, you may use a teaspoon or so of rum extract, or just leave it out entirely.

It only needs about two hours in the fridge to set if you aren't going to unmold it, or three or more if you are. Make it the day you are going to serve it for the best texture.

This is a very rich dessert, a 1/3 to 1/2 cup mold or dessert dish will be plenty for each serving.


Panna Cotta:
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons water
1 quart egg nog
1 large pinch freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons dark rum (optional)

Caramel Sauce:
1/2 cup Smuckers hot caramel sauce
1/4 cup dark rum

In a flat bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let set to soften. In a saucepan, warm the eggnog over medium heat just until tiny bubbles form around the edges. Scrape the gelatin into the pan and whisk until completely dissolved. Whisk in the nutmeg and rum and pour into molds sprayed with cooking spray, or small dessert dishes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

For the caramel sauce, combine the jarred sauce with the rum and heat gently. I put it into a plastic squeeze bottle and warmed it for 30 seconds in the microwave, and that was perfect.

When ready to serve, unmold (or not, according to your preference) and drizzle with the warm caramel sauce. Serve immediately. I garnished mine with fresh raspberries, which made a very nice complement. Serves 8 to 10.

Note: Picture taken by Gary Davis.
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