Valentine’s Day ALREADY???

I know I have given you Panna Cotta recipes during the Holidays but here is a simple, clean tasting Panna Cotta that you can substitute any berry in lieu of the strawberries. The impetus for handing out a dessert such as this now? I went to the store just 2 weeks after Christmas and what do I see? They are getting prepared for Valentine’s Day already!! I just can’t believe these Holidays are so close together. So what berry says amore more than strawberries? I can’t think of one. I dumbed down this recipe just as much as possible so that the guys out there can take the time and make something from the heart.

Strawberry Panna Cottas with Sliced Fresh Strawberries
Serves 6

Panna Cotta

2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
1 cup milk
1 quart strawberries, sliced
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar

For Strawberry Topping

2 cups strawberries, sliced
2 teaspoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Making Panna Cottas:

Sprinkle the gelatin on 1/4 cup cold water in a small bowl. Stir and set aside for 10 minutes to allow the gelatin to dissolve. Place milk, strawberries, and vanilla in a blender or food processor, puree until smooth.
Over medium-high heat, bring the cream and sugar to scalding, about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove the pan from the heat and add the softened gelatin, stirring well, until dissolved. Combine with the strawberry mixture and pour through a sieve into a bowl, stir well.
Divide panna cotta mixture evenly into six 6-ounce ramekins or custard cups* and refrigerate, uncovered for 1 hour. Cover with film wrap after an hour and continue chilling in refrigerator until set, about 4 more hours.
To unmold, dip molds in a small bowl of hot water 2 or 3 seconds, then invert panna cottas onto dessert plates and remove molds. You may need to run a knife around the inside edge to loosen. Let stand at room temperature 20 minutes to soften slightly.

To prepare strawberries:

Coat the strawberries with the powdered sugar and let stand for at least an hour at room temperature. When ready to serve with the Panna Cotta, stir in the lemon juice.

* You can use basically any ceramic or glass dessert bowl you have. They all work the same. I used a simple round side dish, reminiscent of a monkey dish.