The Daring Baker’s Challenge: Strawberry Vanilla and Maraschino Cherry Panna Cotta with Florentines
The February 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen. She chose to challenge everyone to make Panna Cotta from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and Nestle Florentine Cookies. This one was perfect for me and my favorite so far – two of my favorites creamy and cookies! I decided to make maraschino cherry layers because I had some maraschino cherry jelly that I made recently and thought it would be a great combination. While at the store, I found the first really nice strawberries of the year, so I couldn’t resist them, nor could I decide between the two so I made both versions.
First, the Florentines I followed the Nestle recipe, however, I found that a Tablespoon of dough for each cookie spread way too much and ended up with one giant cookie (so sad you know we had to eat the mistake). With each batch I reduced the amount, then finally got it to 1/2 teaspoon per cookie which made the perfect size. Also, instead of making a sandwich cookie, I just drizzled them with chocolate as I liked the look better and wanted to lighten them up a little to serve with the Panna Cotta.
Following the recipe (with the addition of 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon) I mixed up the dough, which looks like this:
As I mentioned, the recipe calls for a Tablespoon of dough for each cookie, which was way to much so I reduced that down to 1/2 teaspoon as they really spread, and actually that’s what you want because it makes them nice and lacy.
Next: Strawberry/Vanilla Panna Cotta. Never having made this before, I found it much easier than I had expected not much more complicated than making jello.
For the strawberry portion:
1 lb strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 packet unflavoreed gelatin
1/4 cup water
1/1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
Few strawberries for garnish
First decide how you want to display – in a glass or in a mold. If using a mold, spray it with vegetable spray. I like using various glasses for the presentation as it eliminates the worry of getting them out of the mold and you still get to see how beautiful it is – plus it is a great excuse for using all the pretty glasses that at least at my house don’t get out very often. I did try one in a mold, but unfortunately, I left it in the hot water too long so it pretty much lost the “mold” design and looked like a blob surrounded by melted pudding – not my best effort. I’ll probably try again, but the ones in the glasses turned out much better.
1. Puree the strawberries and sugar in a blender or food processor until very smooth and press through a sieve to remove the seeds. Remove 1 cup and reserve the rest.
2. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water in a small microwave safe bowl and let stand for 5 minutes to soften. Place in the microwave for 5 second intervals until it dissolves.
3. In a medium size microwave safe bowl, bring the milk to a simmer, 1 1/2- to 2 minutes – don’t boil.
4. Add the gelatin, strawberry puree and the cream and mix.
5. Pour into the serving dishes and chill until firm. If you want to make layers as I did, fill the glasses partially and chill before adding another layer.
Using the reserved strawberry puree top the panna cotta and just before serving, add a Florentine cookie.
Vanilla/Almond Panna Cotta
Remember if you are planning on layering the dessert, wait until the first layer firms up before making this layer. I made a double batch of Giada’s Panna Cotta with Fresh Berries recipe , up to the last step but splitting it into two containers adding vanilla to one and almond extract to the other (for the maraschino cherry ones). I noticed that this recipe was much smoother and creamier than the one with strawberries.
For the maraschino cherry layer I used the maraschino cherry jelly I made recently. I warmed it slightly so it would pour into the glasses and put a layer on the bottom of the glass. Poured the almond extract version over that, let it harden and then on some I put another thin layer of jelly on top.
For the strawberry version I used the already hardened layer of strawberry and added another layer of vanilla on top, then a layer of the reserved strawberry puree.
12 thoughts on “The Daring Baker’s Challenge: Strawberry Vanilla and Maraschino Cherry Panna Cotta with Florentines”
Great job with the challenge this month! The layers of white and red are very striking! I had the same problem with the Florentines melting into one giant cookie and ended up using a teaspoon instead. Glad to hear I wasn’t the only one who had trouble! I’ll have to try your strawberry panna cotta when the berries are ripe up here in Washington 🙂
Thanks, this one was really fun! I bet your berries will be great, these came from CA I’m sure they had a head start. My friend lives in Washington and said it’s been cold and snowy!
I love how the light hits the gelee on the bottom of those layered glasses! Beautiful! Nice job on the challenge!
Professional quality presentation and photos! Positively gorgeous and I LOVE your flavor combinations!
I really love that final shot with the sun shining through the layers–beautiful! Lovely layering and I like the idea of maraschino cherry with the panna cotta. I also found that a bare half teaspoon was the right amount or the cookies were too large.
Beautiful pictures, and flavors. A great job on a DB challenge!
Well they sure look pretty, and the cookies are the perfect decoration.
So elegantly featured. I wish I could also feature some of this kind as well.
Thanks, I’m working on presentation but I find that harder than the taste!
Strawberry Vanilla Panna Cotta | Celiac Safe
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