Strawberry Panna Cotta with Balsamic Red Wine Syrup

by Meeta Wolff

This chapter is a free excerpt from What's For Lunch, Honey?.

I always get assigned the dessert! And if I am really honest with myself, in the kitchen I prefer cooking rather than dessert making or baking! But I always get assigned the dessert. Baking/desserts require high concentration—exact measurements and perfect temperatures. I do enjoy creating such things, cooking is more my forté. I like being able to simply play around with ingredients, freestyle. Precise measurements are not required and improvising is desired. I love that.

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I always get assigned the dessert! And if I am really honest with myself, in the kitchen I prefer cooking rather than dessert making or baking! But I always get assigned the dessert. Baking/desserts require high concentration—exact measurements and perfect temperatures. I do enjoy creating such things, cooking is more my forté. I like being able to simply play around with ingredients, freestyle. Precise measurements are not required and improvising is desired. I love that.

Having said that, it's the dessert and the baking that gives me a buzz. There is a great feeling of satisfaction when I have completed an intricate dessert or a tricky cake, incomparable to anything else. I've also noticed that almost always it's the dessert or the cake that steals the show. And honestly? I love the attention!

So when I had gorgeous, ripe, juicy strawberries in my fridge, I had to make them the star of my dessert. And strawberries are so popular, I had plenty of exciting recipes to choose from. I went for the panna cotta. Not because of the panna cotta itself—I've made that a few times. What intrigued me in the recipe was the balsamic red wine syrup. The recipe is a breeze to make and produces an exceptional dessert. It's a perfect bring-a-long to any potluck party, a real show stealer!
Priya
The panna cotta looks gorgeous Meeta. My parents and I picked up two tubs of strawberries y'day and I was planning on a rhubarb and berry combo, but this one looks delicious. No wonder your dessert stole the show yet again :)
JUNE 18, 2008 4:52:00 AM GMT+02:00
Dani Spies
Your pictures are BEAUTIFUL!! I LOVE the combination of strawberries and balsamic too! Sometimes I make a strawberry/balsamic/basil salsa and put it on top of grilled chicken... it's so good!
JUNE 18, 2008 11:40:00 PM GMT+02:00

Method:

For the panna cotta
  1. In a saucepan mix together the strawberries, sugar and cream and on medium heat simmer for approx. 10 minutes.
  1. Soak the gelatin sheets in cold water for 5 minutes.
  1. Using a puréeing machine, purée the strawberry-cream mixture until smooth. If desired, strain the mixture through a sieve. Add the gelatine and stir until dissolved.
  1. Pour into 4 cups or forms and refrigerate overnight.
For the balsamic red wine syrup
  1. Mix together all the ingredients for the syrup in a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil.
  1. Reduce heat and simmer until the mixture has reduced to a third, into a thick creamy syrup. Set aside to cool.
  1. Serve the panna cotta drizzled with the syrup and a sprinkling of the nuts, if using.
  1. Enjoy!
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