It took nearly 30 years for panna cotta to find me. Far into motherhood, approaching middle-life (if middle life is kinda your 30's), I called a friend and told her we should meet for a midafternoon picnic at a farmyard down the road. She obliged. I promised to bring kids lunches if she'd tote in food for the grownups. She was a much more elegant cook than I, so very Martha. And so, the agreement was made and we met at the agreed upon time. Kids and food in tow, an afternoon of sunshine welcoming us into it's warm arms.
I toted in triple decker PB&Js for the kids, buckets full of root beer and favorite kids books to boot. Sophistimom arrived with sandwiches so good, my oldest son Andrew still talks about them. He'll tell you it was the day he learned he loved fresh basil. Bright green leaves, tucked between two rustic rolls with tender mozzarella and bright red tomatoes.
For dessert, Sophistimom revealed a pan full of the most stunning layered panna cotta. Peaches on the bottom, cream in the center, strawberries on top. Spooning into those pretty cups of custardy fruit and cream was a revelation. It was the day I learned I loved panna cotta. Better than flan or whipped cream or creme brulee.
Okay, maybe not more than creme brulee. But close. The love affair is really too close to call.
Sophistimom has always been more sophisticated than I. Back when she had a website, she launched with a perfect brand name, the gentle colours of London-inspired childwear, food ideas that took hours--sometimes even days to make.
Meanwhile, my first website was "Conversations With a Cupcake". A clunky, hap-hazard foray into whateverthehell was being made in my usuallymessy kitchen.
So this week, when I decided enough was enough and I mostdefinitely needed panna cotta 3x each way, I knew there was no way I was Sophistimomming it, with a triple layer summer-inspired splendor.
Panna cotta is blessedly simple, however, which means even shortcutters like you and I can still enjoy all the best parts of this dainty dessert in under an hour, with just about 15 minutes of hands-on time.
So, I pulled some seasonal flavors I've been happy passioning over--raspberry, blood orange--and turned them into a ruby hued honey jam, made snappy with chia seeds.
The panna cotta itself is creamy and sweet, with the addition of ricotta. Make sure you pay for the good stuff here. As your cheese-ier (what do you call those guys who stand behind the cheese counter, anyway?) what they'd recommend. A proper ricotta is smooth and soft. Most readily-available pints of ricotta are hunky and grainy. You no wanty that.
I do so love the Trader Joe's ricotta. So go there, if that is within your capability.
Then, Sophistimom yourself. But, like, with a shortcut.
Because there's only one Sophistimom. And she sure as hellsinky isn't me.