Rose Panna Cotta

Is there anything prettier than pink panna cotta? Probably not. Certainly not as far as Mother’s Day foods go at least. What the heck is panna cotta you ask? It literally means “cooked cream” in Italian. And the dish is perfectly fitting for MY mom because it originated in the same region as her family, Piemonte. It’s a slightly sweet, custard like dessert, except, instead of eggs, it’s thickened with gelatin - making it a great dessert for egg-free folks as well.

Panna cotta can be flavored in a variety of ways, from very simply with vanilla up to whatever you can concoct at home! In my recipe, I decided to use one of my, and my mom’s, favorite dessert flavors, rose. And of course, if something is flavored with rose, it should look like one too! So I decided to dye it pink, but I did NOT want to use traditional red dye as that stuff is linked to a myriad of health conditions! No one needs that! Beet juice was the natural solution. Sweet all on their own, and one of the most vibrant colors in nature, a teaspoon of beet juice turned my plain white dessert, into a beautiful shade of pink, perfect for Mamma!

I always let my pannna cotta set in whatever I plan to serve it in. Traditionally the dish is set in a mold, removed and served on a plate - but honestly that’s a pain in the ass to do. Pretty little serving glasses like these make it so easy!

Finally, I had to toast Mom with our own family’s spin on a classic. The mimosa is typically orange juice and champagne, but both Mom and I find champagne to be too dry - we much prefer the sweet taste of another Piemonte original, Asti Spumante! And since I wanted to stick with my pink theme, I used a raspberry based juice instead of orange. Just fill a champagne flute about halfway with juice, then top it off with Asti! Salute Mom!

Check out the video to see exactly how to make the panna cotta, then add it to you menu this weekend!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mamma’s out there!
Buon Appetito!

Rose Panna Cotta
Serves 6

1/4 C. rose water
1/2 packet powdered gelatin (1 3/4 tsp.)
1 C. milk
1 C. heavy cream
1/2 C. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. beet juice (optional)
fresh berries for serving (optional)

Sprinkle gelatin over rose water and let set for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, in a medium sauce pan, combine milk, cream, sugar and vanilla. Whisk to combine. Set over medium heat until simmering.

Remove pan from the heat. Stir in beet juice to color the panna cotta pink. Add in rose water and gelatin mixture and whisk again until mixture is smooth. Pour into desired serving dishes. Allow the panna cotta to come to room temperature. Then refrigerate (uncovered) for a minimum of 3 hours. Panna cotta can be made 1 day in advance.

Serve with fresh berries on top.