Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sensational: Strawberry Panna Cotta with Balsamic Red Wine Syrup

Strawberry Panna Cotta (01) by MeetaK 

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.

Once or twice a month my girlfriends and I get together for a girlie evening. If we all got together at once we'd be about 8 or 10! A lot of women - but all 10 of us in one place rarely ever happens as the one or other can't make it for several reasons (kids, husband, work etc.). So, often we get together in groups of fours to sixes. We really have fun together and do a variety of things. The movies then cocktails, or dinner at a restaurant then cocktails, or just cocktails. Sometimes one of the girlfriends will invite us over to her place and we cook and then have cocktails - you get the picture!

There's always a lot of giggling, gossiping and bitching. Oh I just love these evenings. I always come back with my spirits high and in a giddy mood (yes those cocktails!) On the occasions when we are invited over to dinner, we all pitch in. A potluck. The hostess makes the main course and the rest of us get assigned different things. One will bring a salad, the other the munchies, the other wine alcohol for the cocktails - I always get assigned the dessert.

Baking/desserts requires high concentration - exact measurements and perfect temperatures. I do enjoy creating such creations, but cooking is more my forte. I like being able to simply play around with ingredients - free-style. 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 it's the dessert or the cake that almost always steals the show!

Honestly? I love the attention.

On the weekend, one of my best girlfriends, AK, was having a belated birthday party and requested me to make dessert. She had suggested something chocolatey. "No problem there!" I thought.

But then Soeren and I went to our local strawberry fields and plucked 3 kilos of these luscious strawberries ...

Strawberry Basket (01) by MeetaK

With these gorgeous, ripe, juicy fruit in my fridge I had to make them the star of my dessert. One of my favorite German cooking magazines is featuring strawberries this month so 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.


Ingredients
Printable version of recipe here.

Strawberry Panna Cotta (03) by MeetaK

Serves 4

For the panna cotta

200g ripe strawberries, cut into quarters
250g heavy cream
50g icing sugar
3 sheets gelatin

For the balsamic red wine syrup

100 ml balsamic vinegar
100 ml red wine
50g sugar

Optional

Hazelnut brittle and pistachios, chopped


Method

Strawberry Panna Cotta (02) by MeetaK


For the panna cotta

In a saucepan mix together the strawberries, sugar and cream and on medium heat simmer for approx. 10 minutes.

Soak the gelatin sheets in cold water for 5 minutes.

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.

Pour into 4 cups or forms and refrigerate overnight.

Strawberry Panna Cotta (05) by MeetaK

For the balsamic red wine syrup

Mix together all the ingredients for the syrup in a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the mixture has reduced to a third, into a thick creamy syrup. Set aside to cool.

Serve the panna cotta drizzled with the syrup and a sprinkling of the nuts, if using.

Enjoy!


Verdict

Strawberry Panna Cotta (06) by MeetaK

Even a chocoholic like me succumbs to a fruity dessert like this. This panna cotta encases all the ripeness and aromas of a fresh strawberry. It smells fantastic and tastes incredible. The combination with the balsamic red wine syrup is unbeatable. An explosion of flavors. My girlfriends enjoyed the dessert to the very last spoon, which was savored with such delicacy. AK could not stop hugging me for making such a special dessert just for her. Yes, AK you mean the world to me - for you nothing but the best.

You might enjoy the creamy desserts on WFLH too:

SaffronCardamomPannaCotta 07 framed
Saffron and Cardamom Panna Cotta
Panna Cotta Sin
Panna Cotta with Blackberries
PersimmonVerrines 04
Persimmon Honey Nut Yogurt Verrines


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2008 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

46 comments :

  1. I love the shot of the strawberries in the basket.

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  2. Those strawberry panna cotta look so good! Great photos! The balsamic and red wine syrup is a nice addition.

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  3. I don't know why strawberries and balsamic are such a wonderful combination, but they are. And the color -- oh, the color of the panna cotta is beautiful!

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  4. those are some fresh strawberries! yet to find a market with good fresh fruits in singapore

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  5. gorgeous pictures, as always. And what a great way to use up some of the beautiful and fresh berries.

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  6. 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 :)

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  7. I've been cooking with strawberries too!! the dessert looks perfect, its no wonder you are assigned desserts always!:)

    I made vanilla panna cotta with strawberries last week..yet to post it:)

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  8. I agree... desserts do steal the show :-) and who doesn't like the attention :-)

    Strawberries are out of season here now... but apricots are in. And I hope to make the apricot clafoutis from your blog sometime soon. :-)

    Hugs

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  9. Oh Meeta! What do I do now with my strawbrry panna cotta post? Haha!
    Looks wonderful, nice syrup will give it a little edge, great!

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  10. Strawberries (in season v. soon) and panna cotta - indeed - what's not to like?? Lovely, Meeta!!

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  11. oh boy, that looks awesome meeta...

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  12. Beautiful photos! The panna cotta looks stunning! I've never tried to combine balsamic vinegar with strawberries, but it sounds very interesting.

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  13. Meeta it looks super delicious. I did plainpannacotta with strawberries marinated in balsamic vinegar ( still have to post them) but this looks so delicious too.
    I have bookmarked them to make it.
    I do agre Desserts always steal the show.

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  14. My god Meeta..those are some fabulous pictures...so beautifully captured!...am sure we too will enjoy this, if you make it for us...should I say pls pls???...:))

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  15. I always get "assigned" the desserts too although I usually volunteer for the desserts since I arrogantly think I'm the king of desserts! LOL! Your panna cotta looks just superb!

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  16. Aaaahhh... cocktails with girlfriends... It's been so many years since I practiced this sport for the last time... Great times!

    A wonderful dessert Meeta :D

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  17. The red strawberries look so gorgeous! You can call yourself a dessert queen :)

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  18. as always meeta, you make simple recipes look fabulous. Such a brilliant idea to add balsamic and red wine syrup on panna cotta !!

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  19. Wow, looks amazing, and so special.

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  20. Your desserts will always grab everyone's attention, darling - they are so stunning!
    I love the idea of a balsamic syrup. It sounds wonderful!

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  21. I wish I had a friend like you somewhere nearby...Its gorgeous

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  22. Meeta, I always wanted to try making Panna cotta thanks for the recipe will give this a try. Pics look great.

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  23. I agree - dessert always steals the show!! Your photos are amazing!

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  24. Meeta, I made my first panna cotta this week... and I loved it. Your recipe sounds very good... I will look for strawberries... balsamic red wine syrup sounds very inviting :)
    Have a good day, Margot

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  25. thank you thank you thank you! I really loved all your comments. i enjoyed the photo session here as i was working with a new idea and technique. the recipe itself is great. i'm making a raspberry version this week so let's see how it goes. hope you all enjoy making this!

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  26. Beautiful photos for a beautiful recipe!

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  27. 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!

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  28. I cannot wait until our locally grown strawberries are at their perfection...I'll probably come back to this recipe to showcase them.

    Beautiful.

    j

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  29. Beautiful photos as always and the recipe is so intriguing, unfortunately all the rain we had has thrown our seasons off and strawberries are hard to find, they were everywhere a month ago, now - not so much. Hopefully it's not too late, I would love to try this.

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  30. Meeta dessert looks devine..Loved teh starwberry shot

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  31. Its strawberry season here too...n ur dessert looks really pretty in PINK !!! Awesome pics Meeta....Im heading to the farmer's market this weekend to get me some fresh strawberries n indulge in ur pink delight. Gr8 blog ....keep up the good work !!!

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  32. I do think that the balsamic red wine syrup is unique! And it's fantastic that it worked well!

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  33. perfect for summer! :). Can I skip the red wine, Meeta?

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  34. Even a chocoholic like me would be totally blown away to receive a dessert like that, Meeta! Beautiful and perfect for the season! :)

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  35. Those are some very sexy strawberries and the dessert looks excellent. Is it really any surprise that you keep getting tagged for desserts at your get togethers? ;-)

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  36. That basket of strawberries made my heart skip...gorgeous!
    The panna cottas are beautiful and what a fun time it must have been!!

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  37. Girls, cocktails, food, good times . . . we called those girls night out...wonderful.
    Love the strawberries and the panna cotta but it's the balsamic red wine syrup that captures me!! Bring it on. I would ask for dessert.

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  38. Wow lovely post... i haveto try this./. I just cant wait...

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  39. No surprise to see over 40 comments here. I like your finishing touches with the chocolate, pistachios and a strawberry.

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  40. How long will the syrup last for in the refrigerator?

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  41. Thank you all for your feedback and comments on this. Much appreciated!

    Dita yes you can - use a cherry juice or any other red juice instead.

    Tracey - I have not kept this in the refrigerator myself but I presume it will kept 2-3 days!

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  42. Meeta, I just made this panna cotta... i refrigerated it and yet to taste it... the question I have is, when cooking the cream and the strawberries, is it possible the cream could curdle? When I pureed the mixture and poured it into bowls, I has a distinct feeling my cream might have curdled. Anyway, I will let you know how it is tomorrow.

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Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta