Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Fresh "Strawberry Jam"
1+1/2 c and 4tsp heavy cream
1+1/2c and 4tsp buttermilk
Zest of one orange
1ea vanilla bean
Pinch of salt
4tsp unflavored gelatin powder (or 3 leaves of gelatin)
Medium sauce pan, sieve, Six, 5oz ramekins or desired serving vessel, zester or box grater, whisk, measuring cups and spoons, knife, rimmed baking sheet, medium bowl.
Place ramekins 3 inches apart on a rimmed baking sheet. Refrigerate until cold. Put three tablespoons of cool water into a medium bowl. Sprinkle with gelatin; let stand until gelatin has softened, about five minutes.
Stir together cream, sugar, orange zest, salt, and vanilla bean (that has been sliced in half length wise) in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar, until bubbles form at the edges (about 2 minutes). Pour cream mixture into bowl with gelatin; whisk until gelatin has dissolved. Stir in buttermilk. Pour through a sieve into a bowl. Pour cream mixture into chilled ramekins. Refrigerate on baking sheet until set, about 2 hours.
For the jam
1 pint fresh strawberries (washed, hulled and sliced) or other berries of your choice
2-3 generous tbsp orange marmalade
Equipment needed: small bowl, fork, and spoon
Place a small sprinkling of strawberries into a bowl and mash with the back of the fork. This creates a quick "berry puree" that adds even more berry color to the finished product. With fork, stir the smashed berries with the marmalade until well combined. Then, toss the remaining fresh berries in the mixture until evenly coated and glistening with jam. Spoon onto the already set buttermilk panna cotta.
It's important not to cook the buttermilk and cream together as this will cause small curds to form in the mixture.
Leaf gelatin is exactly as it sounds, instead of a granular powder, it comes in clear sheets. You may be able to find it locally in specialty cooking shops or markets known for exotic ingredients.
If you do not have access to a vanilla bean, vanilla extract will do nicely. Be sure to add it after the cooking process as it can sometimes take on a bitter taste when heated.
If you do choose to use a vanilla bean, be sure to save the pod after this recipe. Simply rinse it off with cool water and reserve for later use, or make delicious vanilla sugar by placing it in an air tight container with a few cups of sugar.
This recipe can also be made up to 3 days ahead of time, just make sure to cover each ramekin with plastic wrap to ensure no skin forms on the surface of the custard.
If you don't have an orange, this recipe is equally delicious with grapefruit zest or any other citrus fruit of choice, or could be omitted entirely.