Saturday, December 3, 2011

sugared cranberries & a sparkling treat

I have never claimed to be a "sweets person."

If I was given the option of chocolate or cheese for the rest of my life, I'm goin' with the brie.

This one dessert would make me a sweets person.

When writing a menu for clients a couple months ago, I wanted to play with the idea of an eggnog panna cotta.

Should I make the custard with traditional heavy cream and accentuate with recognizable eggnog spices? Or, could I make it with actual bottled eggnog?

Eggnog, baby. And it's delish.

I ran across this Whole Foods recipe for Eggnog Panna Cotta with Spiced Pears.

I liked the idea of this but...

I always like to make recipes or dish combinations, "my own."
And secondly, I wanted to add some holiday sparkle to the creamy-spiced panna cotta.

Sugared cranberries it is!

Also, for a chocolate-y, spicy and textural addition, I added a dark chocolate wafer for elegance and visual appeal.

Man, this dessert rocks. Seriously.
Go make it now!

That's a Christmas order from Santa
(cookies just get SO humdrum).

Eggnog Panna Cotta with Sugared Cranberries
& Dark Chocolate Crystallized Ginger Wafer

yields 8 servings

1 quart eggnog
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 (1/4 ounce) packets unflavored powdered gelatin
1 cup fresh cranberries
1 cup turbinado sugar
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
thin-sliced crystallized ginger, for sprinkling

In a medium saucepan, heat eggnog over medium heat until hot and just bubbling. Whisk in cinnamon to hot eggnog mixture to combine. Meanwhile, whisk together 1/3 cup hot water and gelatin in a small bowl until dissolved. Whisk gelatin mixture into eggnog until thoroughly combined.

Remove from heat and pour into eight 4-ounce ramekins. Chill for at least 2 hours, or until set.

Meanwhile, make sugared cranberries. Bring a pot of water to boil and add turbinado sugar to a large bowl. Submerge cranberries into boiling water for 30 seconds then drain immediately. Toss hot cranberries with turbinado sugar then spread out on a sheet pan to cool and allow cranberries to dry out.

Next, chocolate wafers. Add chocolate to a microwave-safe bowl. Line a small sheet pan with parchment paper. Microwave chocolate in 30 second intervals, stirring between, until melted. Spoon chocolate into eight circle shapes on parchment-lined sheet. Top with crystallized ginger. Refrigerate to harden.

To plate dessert, run a knife along ramekin dishes. Unmold on individual plates then top with sugared cranberries and chocolate coin on the side.

Luscious. Creamy. Sparkling.
Brimming with holiday cheer.