Tag Archives: Dessert

Panna Cotta with Raspberry Sauce

Panna Cotta with Raspberry Sauce
Panna Cotta with Raspberry Sauce

Simply “cooked cream”, panna cotta makes a simple and satisfying ending to an Italian meal, especially made with seasonal fruit. Because of the large seeds in raspberries, I recommend straining the sauce. Alternatively, you could serve this with a fresh, sliced strawberry sauce or “lumpy syrup.”

My thanks to the Williams-Sonoma Italian cookbook for the original recipe. It’s a wonderfully concise and authentic source for basic Italian recipes, including pasta from scratch.

Makes 6 servings.

Ingredients (Onion)Ingredients

For Panna Cotta:

  • 1 packet (2 1/2 teaspoons) unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 2 cups (16 oz.) heavy cream
  • 1 cup (8 oz.) half & half
  • 5 Tablespoons blonde coconut palm sugar or granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (essence)

For Raspberry Sauce:

  • 1/2 pound (1 cup) fresh raspberries, plus 1/4 pound whole raspberries for garnish
  • 4 oz granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (or to taste) fresh lemon juice
  • Mint leaves to garnish

Preparation (Chef's hat)Preparation

For Panna Cotta:

1 – Pour 3 oz. of cold water into a small bowl. Sprinkle in the gelatin and stir. Let stand about 5 minutes, or until the gelatin has softened.

2 – In a large sauce pan, pour in the cream, half & half, sugar, and salt. Heat over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar, until bubbles begin to appear around the edges of the pan.

3 – Stir in the gelatin mixture and removed the pan from heat. Set aside for 10 minutes to let the mixture cool slightly, stirring occasionally.

4 – Stir in the vanilla.

5 – Divide among 6 ramekins (3/4 cup/6 oz size). Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to overnight.

For Raspberry Sauce:

1 – Purée the raspberries in a blender or food processor.

2 – Strain through a chinois or other fine-mesh strainer (for example, a tea strainer) to remove seeds.

3 – Stir in sugar and lemon juice. Taste, adding more sugar or lemon juice, if desired.

To serve:

1 – For each ramekin, run a knife around the inside edge of the ramekin to loosen the panna cotta. Place a serving plate upside down, over the ramekin. Then, holding the plate onto the ramekin, invert both to transfer the panna cotta to the plate. Remove the ramekin.

2 – Divide the raspberry sauce amount the six servings, drizzling it on half the panna cotta and around it on the plate. Garnish with whole raspberries and fresh mint.


Questions? Contact barbara@CulinaryOracle.com
©2017 Barbara Newton-Holmes
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Vegan…or Not

Brown Rice Bread Pudding
Tuscan Vegetables Stew
Sweet Potato Fries

“It’s one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it’s another to think yours is the only path.” Paulo Coelho, By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept

Coconut Brown Rice Pudding with Pomegranate Seeds (Vegan)
Coconut Brown Rice Pudding with Pomegranate Seeds (Vegan)

My muse has been running with vegetables…

…ever since I was planning for Jessica’s coming over to dinner last week.  

Vegan, really: no meat, no dairy, no fish, no eggs, just fruits and vegetables and nuts. No animal products.

Vegan Diet Rating

In this year’s  survey by US News and World Reports, the vegan diet ranks high for weigh-loss, diabetes, and heart-healthiness (#7, #4, and #6 respectively out of 38 diets), but not so great (#32) in the  category of Easiest Diets to Follow. Experts evaluated the diets on their eating flexibility and availability of ingredients.

No Imitations (Almost)

Tuscan Vegetables Stew (Vegan)
Tuscan Vegetables Stew (Vegan)

Generally, I’m not keen on processed food or imitation meat products (except that delicious soy chorizo, of course) .

I like to get down to the essence of the whole, fresh vegetable, not making it masquerade for anything. (I don’t mind if anyone else does — for instance, Jessica has recently found some imitation eggs that she says make great omelets.) 

My muse enjoys the challenge of finding a combination of ingredients that are genuinely themselves, within the constraints.

Sweet Potato Fries (vegan) with Pesto Eggplant (not vegan)
Sweet Potato Fries (vegan) with Pesto Eggplant (not vegan)

This week, it’s been vegan guidelines and healthier eating.

So, a dessert without eggs or dairy or simple carbs (Coconut Brown Rice Pudding).

A hearty stew without meat (Tuscan Vegetables Stew).

French fries with more fiber and less fat (Sweet Potato Fries).

Plato’s Pickles?

Years ago, when I was studying Plato, I’m sure I read that the need for political states (and warriors to protect them, guardians to direct them) arose from want of pickles… that itch to have just a little more, just a little spiciness, even one that didn’t grow in one’s own territory. I’ve been never been able to find that reference since, so maybe I dreamed it. But, there is something to it, how a little tweak can change things. 

When I came down to actually serving these perfectly vegan dishes, the muse had one more little whisper or two.

  • “How about a little dollop of Greek yoghurt on that bread pudding?”
  • “Little Italian meatballs or sausages would be great with that stew.”
  • “Those fries would be tasty dipped in a lemon-dill-yoghurt sauce.”

The pudding, the stew, and the fries recipes can be strictly vegan or, with sides and garnishes, more like the Flexitarian Diet

To me, the best “diet”, and easiest to follow, comes from Michael Pollan:

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto

Questions? Contact barbara@CulinaryOracle.com
©2017 Barbara Newton-Holmes
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Coconut Brown Rice Pudding (Vegan)

This dessert brings a higher-fiber and a lower glycemic index than that made with white rice and refined sugar, without dairy or eggs. It has a nutty flavor from the brown rice and whole almonds, with a hint of Indian spices.

6 – 8 servings

Coconut Brown Rice Pudding with Pomegranate Seeds (Vegan)
Coconut Brown Rice Pudding with Pomegranate Seeds (Vegan)


  • 1 cup brown rice, thoroughly rinsed and drained
  • 1-14 oz can coconut cream
  • 1 1/2 cans (from the coconut cream) filtered water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup raw whole almonds
  • 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 7 dried apricots, small dice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation (Chef's hat)Preparation

1 – Combine all ingredients in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil over a medium high heat.

2 – Cover and reduce heat, but keeping a steady simmer, as indicated by the sound and a little steam escaping. Cook for 45 minutes.

3 – Turn off heat, but keep covered. Let stand for 10 minutes.

4 – Serve immediately, hot — it will still have a sauce with it. Or, let cool and refrigerate, which will let the rice absorb all the sauce so that it is firm and can be scooped into serving bowls.

Questions? Contact barbara@CulinaryOracle.com
©2017 Barbara Newton-Holmes
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