Monday, August 12, 2013

Panna Cotta with Blueberry or Caramel Cream Sauce

Periodically one of our readers wants to cook along with us on a challenge. We are all for it! When our cook Traci told us that one of her friends wanted to cook along we were excited! And even more excited when we saw what she created! Thanks for cooking along with us, Debbie! ~37 Cooks

When my friend Traci invited me to cook with her and her group of friends at 37 Cooks in the Tropical Traditions challenge, I was honored, excited and a little worried. I have followed 37 Cooks since they began with their Slap Ya Mama challenge last year, and cooking with this great group of cooks is a little intimidating. I was excited because I knew I wanted to challenge myself to make something I had never made before .

For the Tropical Traditions challenge, Traci and I are cooking with the Tropical Traditions Coconut Cream Concentrate. Tropical Traditions is America's source for coconut oil. Check out their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil. So one afternoon on my day off, I pulled out a stack of cookbooks and sat down to read them, looking for inspiration. I have been cooking for many years, and finding something new to cook was a challenge in itself. 

I experimented, revised and made panna cotta many times and ways, changing something every time and with every batch. I am happy in the kitchen, entertaining myself. Panna cotta is an Italian desert that is easy to make, tastes great, and can be sugar free, if you want. 

Panna Cotta with Blueberry or Caramel Cream Sauce
by Debbie T.

For the Panna Cotta:
1 1/4 cups coconut milk 
1 packet unflavored gelatin
1 1/4 cups half and half
1 1/4 cups whipping cream
1/3 to 1/2 cup of sugar
1/3 cup Tropical Traditions Coconut Cream Concentrate

Place the coconut milk in a medium bowl and sprinkle the unflavored gelatin over it. Whisk the gelatin into the milk. Let the milk sit for about 5 minutes, until the gelatin has thickened. In a medium saucepan over low heat, stir together the half and half, whipping cream and sugar until the sugar has dissolved into the mix. Add the milk mixture to the saucepan, then add the Coconut Cream Concentrate and whisk to dissolve the coconut cream. Adjust sugar and coconut cream, if needed.

Remove from heat and pour into four bowls. If you are going to plate the panna cotta, spray the bowl first with non-stick spray. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about three hours. To remove from bowls, use a small knife or toothpick around the edge. Top and serve with your choice of topping.

For the Blueberry Sauce :
3/4 pint fresh blueberries
1 cup of water
1/2 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon water

Place the blueberries, water, sugar and vanilla in a saucepan and stir and simmer for about 15 minutes over medium-low heat. The blueberries will begin to breakdown. Taste to see if you want to add more sugar. Mix the cornstarch with the water until smooth. Pour, a few drops at a time, into the blueberry mixture until the juice is slightly thickened, stirring constantly with a whisk. Remove from heat. Place the mixture in a food processor and pulse to breakdown the berries. Place a fine metal sieve over a small bowl, and pour berries through to remove seeds and pulp. Refrigerate the berry sauce.

For the Caramel Cream Sauce:
6 pieces of caramel
1/2 cup of cream

Place in a two-cup measuring cup and heat in the microwave. I heated my sauce in 8 second intervals at power level 7 until the caramel was melted.

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