Panna Cotta & Sauternes: A Sweet Counterpart
There are some wine pairings that marry perfectly. Panna Cotta and Sauternes elegantly bring out the flavor nuances of in each other, while the acidity of the Sauternes balances the richness of the Panna Cotta. Even for those (like me) who do not particularly have a sweet tooth, will appreciate the complexity off flavors that unfold, from apricot, honey, vanilla, and various spice notes.
Italian Cream Custard
1 quart cream (4 cups)
3 ounces sugar (6 tablespoons)
4 fluid ounces milk
1 Vanilla Bean
3.25 teaspoons gelatin
8 ramekins (4 ounce capacity)
In a saucepan heat the cream together with the sugar until they are almost at simmering point. Split a vanilla bean lengthwise, scrape the seeds, and add to the cream as it is heated (remove the actual bean after heating). Reduce the heat and continue to cook very slowly, stirring constantly until the mixture has thickened (between 15 and 20 minutes). It is very important that the cream be cooked gently!
Concurrently, dissolve the requisite amount of gelatin into the milk (allow to rest for 5 minutes). Heat up the milk very slowly, continuously stirring until the gelatin is dissolved (5 minutes).
Take the cream off the heat and add the dissolved gelatin/milk mix, stir well for an additional 5 minutes and spoon into the ramekins.
Set aside until it reaches room temperature, then place in the fridge for about 3 hours.
Before serving, loosen the cream from the sides of the ramekins with a knife or dip the ramekins briefly in very hot water. Delicately turn over the ramekins onto cold plates. Serve the Sauternes chilled, but not too cold which will allow more flavor complexity and aromatics.
Panna Cotta can be delicious alone or with a fruit dressing. Blend fresh raspberries (or other fresh fruit alternative) with a touch of orange juice and confectioners sugar to taste.