At Brigham Academy in Bakersfield (grades 4-8) we were served lunch on those swirly green melamine sectioned food trays. You know the ones?
Among the all the desserts offered, my least favorite was warm pudding.
The vanilla was bland, the butterscotch more sweet than anything else – and the chocolate…?
Not to malign the hardworking lunch ladies or chocolate in general, but after the one time I got one spoonful of acrid, burnt, squishy brownness I never ate pudding again.
Then, my soon-to-be husband introduced me to crème brulee. It’s his favorite dessert.
Meh, how hard could it be to make?
I won’t bore you with that peanut butter/chocolate disaster – only to say that it was horrible enough to abandon all future attempts.
Cookies are much easier.
Twenty-odd years later, I figured it was time to try again.
I began with a simple panna cotta. No eggs! No baking! No smoke or flames!
I had the farm’s dairy products, local honey and fresh-picked yard apples.
What could go wrong?
The result was silky smooth, not overly rich - and a bonus – no pudding skin! (I am firmly against it.)
I dialed back the sweetness of the original recipe by half, and infused a small amount of honey instead. The vanilla flavor came forward and my first (ahem, second) try at panna cotta became a sophisticated treat.
Buttermilk and Honey Panna Cotta
Adapted from Saveur magazine
1 ¼ Cups Heavy Cream
½ Vanilla Pod, split lengthwise, seeds scraped
3 TB Raw Honey
1 ½ tsp. Unflavored Gelatin
1 TB. Cold Water
1 ¾ Cups Buttermilk, with the chill off
6 - ½ cup ramekins (canning jars, wine glasses, small cups)
Place cream and vanilla in a saucepan. Heat on low for 3-5 minutes – until simmering. Turn off the burner.
Stir in honey until dissolved, cover pan for an hour to steep.
Soften gelatin in 1TB cold water for about 5 minutes.
Reheat cream to the simmer, turn off the heat.
Remove vanilla pod.
Add gelatin and stir until dissolved.
Slowly stir in buttermilk.
Divide into ramekins. Refrigerate until set, about 3 hours.