At this time of year we all have quite enough to do, thank you very much, and want recipes that deliver a huge bang for their buck.
This easy and decadent seasonal dessert makes a stylish ending to any holiday dinner party but is very tolerant of hanging out in the fridge, so you can make it in advance when convenient. (And we certainly like convenient!)
The richness of the panna cotta is offset by tangy sugared cranberries. These not only look pretty and festive – and store well in a jar – but the cranberry-infused syrup you’re left with makes killer cocktails. I like to serve mine in a cranberry old-fashioned.
As a bonus, your leftover egg whites can be used to make these super simple cookies which go really well with any creamy dessert, and also make a welcome, naturally gluten-free, addition to a holiday cookie tin.
Eggnog Panna Cotta // serves 6
- Flavorless oil for greasing (if you’re going to unmold them)
- ¼ cup bourbon or rum (or you can substitute milk)
- 1 sachet (1/4 oz) powdered gelatin
- 4 large egg yolks
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 2 cups whole milk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg (about two turns of a nutmeg grater)
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup heavy cream
Take six ramekins or pretty teacups and brush the insides with flavorless oil if you plan on taking the panna cotta out of the containers to serve. Fill a large bowl with ice and cold water and set aside.
Pour the bourbon into a small bowl and sprinkle on the gelatin. Stir and set aside.
Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a large metal bowl until very creamy and thick, about 4 minutes.
Combine the whole milk, vanilla extract, nutmeg and cinnamon in a saucepan and heat until steaming and starting to bubble round the edges, but not boiling, about 5 minutes. (Don’t let it boil, otherwise your custard will curdle). Remove from the heat.
Whisk half the hot milk into the egg yolk and sugar mixture and then return the custard to the pan with the rest of the milk. Cook gently for about 4 minutes whisking constantly until the custard thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Again be careful not to let it boil. Remove immediately from the heat and plunge the saucepan into your bowl of iced water.
Whisk in the bourbon gelatin mix into the custard until dissolved, then add the cream.
Strain into a jug and pour into your ramekins or cups. The panna cotta will take about six hours to set fully, I find it best to make it the night before serving.
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups granulated sugar (for syrup)
- 2 cups cranberries
- 1 cup sugar (for coating)
Pour the water into a small saucepan and add the sugar. Heat gently and stir constantly until the sugar has dissolved, and set aside to cool. (If the water is too hot, the cranberries will pop!) Stir the cranberries into the warm syrup and refrigerate for about eight hours or overnight.
Pour the remaining sugar onto a flat plate. Strain the cranberries over a bowl and set aside the cranberry simple syrup for your cocktails. Roll the sticky cranberries in the sugar and set aside for about an hour or so until dry. These store well in a jar for up to a week.
Amaretti Cookies // makes about 30
- 2 cups almond flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 egg whites
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- Almond slivers for decorating
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350°F.
Stir the almond flour and granulated sugar together in a large bowl until evenly mixed.
Whisk the egg whites and almond extract in a metal bowl until they form stiff peaks.
Fold the egg whites into the almond flour and sugar and then bring everything together with your hands to form a sticky crumbly paste. Pinch off enough paste to form a small ball about the size of a walnut (kids with their little fingers are super good at this job) and top each ball with a slivered almond.
Bake for about 15 -20 minutes until golden brown and cool on a wire rack. These keep well in an airtight tin.