Life is all about attitude. Whether the glass is half full or empty can really shape your life. When it comes to Valentine’s Day I had two choices; I could mope about another year without a date or I could make and enjoy some pretty heart shaped desserts. I chose pretty heart shaped desserts.
Panna cotta is one of my favourite desserts. It’s incredibly easy to make, and the variations are infinite. In honour of Valentine’s Day, I chose to add a little rosewater to the cream. And of course it needed a touch of red so raspberry jelly layer had to be added. The result is a perfect combination of creamy and fruity layers, with just a hint of something floral.
Whatever your plans for Valentine’s Day, I wish you lots of love a little something sweet!
Rosewater Panna Cotta with Raspberry Gelée
• 2 cups frozen raspberries
• 1/3 cup sugar
• 1 tsp gelatin
• ¼ cup cold water
• 2 cups cream or milk
• 2 tsp rosewater
• ½ cup sugar
• 2 tsp gelatin
• ½ cup cold water
1. Grease the molds with an unflavoured oil. In a medium bowl, sprinkle the 1 tsp gelatin over the ¼ cup water. Set aside. In a medium saucepan bring the raspberries and the 1/3 cup sugar to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes to release the juices. Strain, and stir the raspberry juice into the gelatin until the gelatin has completely dissolved. Pour into molds and let set in the fridge for at least one hour.
2. Once the raspberry gelée has set, make the panna cotta. In a medium bowl sprinkle the 2 tsp gelatin over the ½ cup cold water. Set aside. In a saucepan bring the cream and sugar just to boil. Add the rosewater. Stir into the gelatin until just combined. Let the cream mixture cool slightly then pour into the molds over the gelée. Let set for at least 2 hours.
3. To unmold, run a sharp knife along the edge of the mold then invert onto plates
This weekend we celebrated my dad’s birthday. When I asked him what he wanted, he said it didn’t matter. Birthday’s aren’t important to him because growing up they were never celebrated. To me that’s all the more reason to want to celebrate now. At the very least, a birthday needs a cake.
I was eventually able to get a request for cake with pudding out of him. I had originally planned to make a chocolate pudding tart, but when my mom came home with raspberries those plans changed to a Charlotte. Charlotte’s are molded cakes filled with mousse or custard and surrounded by cake or lady fingers. They are relatively easy to make and look very impressive.
I say relatively because I had a really, really hard time getting the Lady Fingers to stand up. I read several recipes from blogs, cook books, magazines, they all gave the same instruction: stand the lady fingers around the mold. None of them explained how to get them to stand. In the end I cut them in half to give them flat bottoms, making them more balanced.
I filled the Charlotte with a layer of Grand Marnier flavoured pastry cream and another of whipped cream, then topped the whipped cream with raspberries. To tie the flavours together I dipped the Lady Fingers in a Grand Marnier simple syrup. The result was creamy and decadent; the raspberries added the perfect touch of freshness.
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar (divided)
- 2 tbsp flour
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3 tbsp Grand Marnier (divide)
- 1 package store bought Lady Fingers (or home made)
- 250 ml whipping cream
- 2 tbsp icing sugar
- 1 pint raspberries
- Make the pastry cream: In a heat-proof bowl whisk the egg yolks with 1/4 cup granulated sugar. Whisk in the flour and cornstarch, the mixture should look like a paste. Set aside. Heat the milk and vanilla in a medium sauce pan. Heat till just before boiling (there will be some small bubbles popping up). Pour a small amount of the hot milk into the egg mixture and whisk to combine (this will temper the eggs). Pour in the remaining milk, whisking constantly. Return the custard to the saucepan, turn the heat to medium and whisk constantly until thickened. Stir in 1 tbsp Grand Marnier. Pour into a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap then set aside to cool.
- Place the Lady Fingers: In a small sauce pan, heat 1/2 cup water with 1/4 cup sugar and 2 tbsp Grand Marnier. Let cool slightly. While cooling cut some the Lady Fingers in half, you will need enough to line the inside of a 9 inch springform pan. Lightly dip one Lady Finger in the simple syrup, then stand it up in the closed springform pan; the flat bottom of the cut Lady Finger should help it stand. Repeat until the entire rim is lined, then fill the base with dipped Lady Fingers. Pour the pastry cream into the springform pan. Refrigerate until set (about an hour).
- Once set whip the cream with the icing sugar. Spread on the pastry cream, then top with the raspberries. Refrigerate until ready to serve, then remove the springform mold.
Have you ever had a recipe stuck in your head?
Ever since I saw Laura Calder make this recipe on the Food Network Canada I’ve been thinking about making it. Since July 14th was Frances national holiday I decided this was a great time to make it. I know a lot of people have the impression that french food is complicated, and although it can be, in general it’s actually quite simple.
This terrine is basically just a fancy jello mold. I based my recipe on Laura Calder’s Pink Grapefruit and Orange Terrine, but since we are at the height of raspberry season here in Quebec I decided to make a berry version.
To make this you’ll need a 9 inch loaf pan and some plastic wrap.
- 1 cup rosé or white wine ( I used C’est La Vie Rosé Syrah)
- 1/2 cup pomegranate juice
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 packages gelatine
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 1/2 cup raspberries
- 1/2 cup strawberries (halved or quartered if they are too large)
- greek yogurt and honey for topping
- In a saucepan heat wine, juice , and sugar until sugar has completely dissolved and mixture is simmering.
- Take a 1/4 cup of the hot liquid and dissolve the gelatine, then return that to wine mixture.
- Line loaf pan with plastic wrap, making sure there is a good overhang.
- Fill the loaf pan with the berries and the cover with the wine gelatine mixture.
- Cover with overhang from the plastic wrap and refrigerate at least four hours until set.
I was actually a little disappointed with the dessert. Maybe I cooked the wine too long, but there was no wine taste to the jelly at all. Next time I’ll change the wine to juice ratio, and maybe add some anise to it for more flavour. I will try again though, as I think this has a lot of potential.