Last week I enjoyed a meal at the new Felix 55 in Rice Village. Clearly for me, the highlight was dessert, and it featured a very memorable panna cotta. The flavor profile of this dessert was amazing, and the textures were nicely balanced.
Orange and fennel combined in a silky panna cotta topped with a sweet, slightly tart berry compote. “Wow” was generously supplied by a candied fennel garnish. The almond biscotti that accompanied the dessert provided complementary flavor plus gentle crunch. The bubbles in a glass of Moscato d’Asti made a subtle statement in a delightful pairing that sang.
I was intrigued by the candied fennel. Soon, when my kitchen is complete, I am going to give candied fennel a whirl using a recipe for candied citrus rind as a guide.
In the meantime, here’s a recipe for Panna Cotta with Fresh Mint. While not nearly as ambitious as the restaurant dessert mentioned here, it is completely do-able for the home cook. I hope you enjoy it. -alyce eyster
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup milk
- 2 Tblsp sugar
- 15 fresh mint leaves
- several drops vanilla extract or fresh vanilla bean
- 1 packet of gelatin
- 5 Tblsp honey
- Combine the cream, milk, sugar, mint and vanilla bean or extract in a small non-reactive saucepan and gently bring to a boil. Remove from heat as soon as it comes to a boil and let rest for 5 minutes, allowing the mint and vanilla bean to infuse.
- Meanwhile dissolve 1 packet of gelatin in 2 tablespoons warm water. Add to the milk mixture gently stirring to mix well. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve discarding the mint and any undissolved gelatin.
- Lightly grease 6 (2 oz.) ramekins or dariole molds. Pour the mixture into the molds and place in the refrigerator at least 4 hours until set completely.
- To serve, gently run a small knife around the edge of the mold. Hold the molds in a warm water bath briefly to ensure they are loose before turning onto a serving plate. Drizzle with honey and garnish with fresh mint.