Last week I went to pick up blueberries at JenEhr Family Farm. I have to say, being my first time picking blueberries, I didn’t know how much labor this would be. It took me about one hour and forty five minutes to collect my two quarts of berries. I still loved the experience of picking my own berries. While I was in the field, sweaty and fighting the weeds to get to the berries I couldn’t help but appreciate all the farmers that do this every day to bring us fresh produce at the market. I still enjoyed the birds singing and the nice breeze on a hot summer day while I got the mesmerizing taste of juicy blueberries 🙂
I got home thinking what would I make with my freshly picked, sweet, velvety berries. Being summer who wants to spend a lot of time making dessert or turn on a hot oven?? This Panna Cotta is the perfect treat for hot summer days. Panna Cotta to me is the Italian version of a flan made a little simpler. Minimum and low heat cooking required. Adding Greek yogurt gives it a tangy taste on every bite that I just love. It is creamy, light and delightful. Topping the Panna Cotta with blueberries flambé seemed to me like the perfect combination. I know the word “flambé” sounds fancy but all it takes is just a little bit of alcohol and a match to light up a flame, let it cook and you are done. We had extra blueberries flambé left over and we put it on top of vanilla ice cream the next day. Another perfect pair!
I hope you get inspired to try this recipe. If you do, please share your pictures on my Facebook page. I love hearing your comments. Talking about food is what I love so don’t be shy. Enjoy!
Ingredients (makes 4 servings of 1 cup)
For the Panna Cotta
2 Cups of Heavy Cream
1 Vanilla Pod or 1 Tbsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
1/4 Cup Super Fine Sugar*
1 Tbsp. Unflavored Gelatin (1 envelope)
1 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt
For the Blueberries Flambé
1 Cup Fresh Blueberries
1/4 Cup Super Fine Sugar*
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. Cherry Liquor or Brandy
*Super fine sugar is commonly used in baking because it dissolves easily, however it is very pricey. There is no need to spend tons of money on it thou. All you have to do is add your 1/2 cup of granulated sugar into a blender and pulse few times. Make sure that you don’t blend it too long or you could end up with powder sugar instead.
In a medium bowl add the blueberries, sugar, zest and juice of the lemon. Stir, cover and set it aside.
Scatter the gelatin powder on the bottom of a small bowl, sprinkle one tablespoon of water covering the gelatin. Let it soak. On a cutting board, cut the vanilla pod length wise using a paring knife, scrap all the seeds out of the pod. In a small sauce pan add the heavy cream, sugar, vanilla seeds and pods. Warm over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Do not boil. Add the gelatin and continue stirring until the gelatin dissolves. Take it off the heat and let it cool. When the mixture has cooled down strain into a bowl, add the yogurt and mix using a wire whisk. Pour into serving dishes and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
When you are ready to serve the Panna Cotta, make the flambé: dissolve the cornstarch on a tablespoon of cold water. In a sauté pan, add the blueberry mixture and the cornstarch, cook over low heat until it thickens, about 2 minutes (don’t overcook or the blueberries will burst, you want the berries to stay whole), carefully sprinkle the cherry liquor on top and immediately light up a flame using a lighter or a long match. You’ll see a beautiful blue flame. It will take about a minute or two to cook down. Once the flame is off, transfer the blueberries to a serving dish. Top the Panna Cotta with the warm blueberries and garnish with mint if desired.