Panna Cottas are wonderful cream- and gelatin-based custards. They are usually made plain, with fruit added as an embellishment. In this recipe, the strawberries are incorporated into the panna cotta. This recipe differs from traditional panna cottas in that it uses almost all buttermilk instead of cream. Other fruits can be used here. Seedy fruits, such as strawberries need to be sieved (or not, but the texture is somewhat grainy); if using peaches you could forgo the straining process.
3 c sliced, hulled strawberries
1-3/4 c buttermilk
6 T sugar
3-1/2 t unflavored gelatin
1/4 c whole milk
1/4 c heavy cream
sliced strawberries, for garnish
1. Put strawberries, buttermilk, and sugar in a blender and whizz until smooth. Pour through a fine sieve into a bowl, pressing to extract the liquid. Discard the strawberry seeds.
2. Put the milk in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Let sit for a few minutes to allow gelatin to soften. You may need to stir it gently to get all the gelatin wet and soft.
3. Put cream in a small saucepan and bring just to a boil. This will not take long. Take off heat and wait for bubbling to stop. Add gelatin mixture, stirring until all the gelatin is dissolved. A small whisk works well here.
4. Whisk cream mixture into the strawberry puree. Pour into small ramekins or other small molds, 6 to 8 oz each. Cover each and chill, until firm, at least 4 hours, though 8 hours is better. To unmold, hold ramekins in a bowl of hot water for a minute or two, then invert onto serving plates. You may also need to run a butter knife around the edge to loosen the panna cotta. Let stand a few minutes to soften, then serve, garnished with sliced strawberries.
Alternate method: You can also put the panna cottas in wine goblets, which you can serve as is. Or, you could put all the panna cotta in a serving bowl and spoon it out into individual servings. It won’t look as pretty, but it’ll still be tasty!