There is no better combination in summer than peaches and cream, at least to my taste. I’m happy with yogurt and fresh peaches, but truth be told, prefer something sweeter. I love fruit cobblers and enjoy pies, but think they tend to overwhelm the delicate flavor of peaches.
That’s where matters stood when Abby Dodge put up the “master” recipe for the August Baketogether, Ricotta Panna Cotta with Raspberry “Brezza Fresca.” In no time at all, I translated her inspiration into Homemade Ricotta Panna Cotta with Slightly Fizzy Peach Sauce.
My guests devoured this dessert and, though I am not normally a big fan of non-chocolate puddings or similar sweets, even sophisticated ones, this panna cotta won my heart. It was light, refreshing, and slightly sweet – the perfect end to a summer dinner of grilled fish and vegetables, rice, and salad.
Homemade ricotta is simple to make and delicious. If you’ve never tried it, don’t be intimidated by the term “cheese-making.” Instead, consider the effort to be the equivalent of a science experiment worthy of a reasonably intelligent 6th grader. Here’s the story of how I made my ricotta, with my recipe and suggestions on how you could do it, the same way or differently.
There are only a few other ingredients in the panna cotta besides the ricotta. The only other flavor is vanilla. I used the seeds from a vanilla bean (after slitting the bean and pulling the seeds out with a sharp knife) because their flavor is noticeably better, at least to me, compared to vanilla extract, and they looked lovely when processed into the ricotta.
A teaspoon of vanilla extract (or maybe a bit less) should be perfectly reasonable as a substitute. The advantage of an uncooked dish like panna cotta (as opposed to one that needs to be baked) is that you can add as much of an ingredient and then taste to decide whether more is required.
My peach sauce was easy too and I used ingredients that I had on hand. If you don’t have ginger sugar, which I get from making candied ginger, you can add a small amount (perhaps ½ -1 teaspoon) of store-bought candied ginger or add a bit of vanilla or other flavoring instead.
Instead of the gin in Abby’s recipe, I used 1 tablespoon of Grand Marnier. You could substitute fresh orange juice (or another liquor or liqueur) if you prefer. The single tablespoon provided only a hint of orange and no alcohol flavor; next time I’ll use 2 tablespoons because I would have enjoyed a more pronounced orange liqueur “note” in the sauce.
I made my version for a party of 7, but think the recipe is really better for 6, as Abby had suggested. Everyone scraped their dish clean, which means both that they enjoyed it and that they probably would have appreciated another spoonful or two.
Ricotta Panna Cotta with Peach Sauce
Servings – 6 – 7 small servings Cost – $9-10 total
Ingredients for the panna cotta
- 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin powder
- 1 ½ cups (13 ⅛ounces) homemade ricotta cheese
- ½ cup ( 3 ½ ounces) granulated sugar
- seeds from about ⅓of a whole vanilla bean (split bean and scrape seeds) or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch table salt
Preparation – Follow Abby’s directions.
Ingredients for the peach sauce
- 2 cups of peeled peaches, cut into slices or chunks
- ⅓ cup of mixed ginger sugar and confectioner’s sugar (see notes above)
- grated rind of ½ a lemon
- pinch of table salt
- 1-2 tablespoons of Grand Marnier
- Splash or 2 of sparkling water (not pictured above)
- Place all ingredients except the sparkling water into a food processor or blender and mix.
- Just before serving, add the splash or 2 of sparkling water.
- Divide the sauce among the dishes of chilled panna cotta. I garnished each one with a mint leaf, a nice, but unnecessary touch.
Abby’s asymmetrical desserts (see her amazing picture) are gorgeous and I went for that look, but was not able to capture it using a champagne glass. Defeated by the narrow mouth of the flute (I didn’t have a tall glass with a larger opening that was small enough in volume) and my clumsiness, I quickly abandoned the idea and went for the easier-to-fill, wide and low dessert dishes. They looked fine and maybe even elegant.
For my other Baketogether adventures, see my posts on: