Panna cotta, Italian for “cooked cream” is an easy “do ahead” foolproof dessert. It is readily enhanced by the addition of fresh seasonal fruit or other flavors such as almond, chocolate, lemon or espresso. In this case, I was inspired by the Louisiana blueberries that made their debut at our farmer’s market last weekend. Although I was dreaming of a hot blueberry cobbler with creamy vanilla ice cream, I also wanted a change and I was looking for something lighter. Panna cotta was the perfect complement to the meal I had planned. The melt in your mouth creamy consistency firm yet at the same time delicate, with the tart flavor of the blueberries was perfect. Although panna cotta is made with cream, it is eggless, feels light and airy yet it and has a deep richness to it that is satisfying. You can unmold the dessert and serve it surrounded by berries and sauce in a bowl or you can make the panna cotta in a wine glass or individual transparent glass cups or dishes and add the sauce and fruit. Other garnishes include finely chopped nuts, lemon curd or shaved chocolate. Either way you choose to serve the panna cotta and complemented with the garnishes of your choice, it will taste divine and looks so sophisticated too!
I have also included a recipe with the panna cotta for a fresh blueberry compote. You can apply this recipe to any kind of fruit to make a compote. Making a compote involves briefly cooking fresh or frozen fruit with a little sugar and maybe a few spices. Compotes are versatile and can be used in pies, as a topping for vanilla ice cream, or swirled into your yogurt in the morning and topped with granola. A fresh fruit compote will keep in your refrigerator for a couple of weeks or you can freeze it.
Have fun with these easy recipes for summer fruit and simple panna cotta.