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Panna Cotta with Berries and Anise Brittle

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"This dish is the Italian answer to creme brulee, and always seems to impress. Find many more glamorously simple recipes in culinary expert Donatella Arpaia's new cookbook: Donatella Cooks: Simple Food Made Glamorous."
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servings 412
Original recipe yields 8 servings


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  1. To make the Panna Cotta: Put 1/4 cup cold water in a small bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over it and let it soak for 5 minutes, or until softened. Combine the milk, sugar, and vanilla bean halves in a large saucepan. Stir over medium-high heat until the sugar has dissolved, then bring to a gentle boil. Remove from the heat and let cool for 2 minutes. Stir in the gelatin mixture until dissolved. Stir in the cream and remove the pieces of vanilla bean. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until the mixture begins to thicken.
  2. Pour 1/2 cup of the mixture into each of eight 6-ounce ramekins or glasses. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until set. If you plan to refrigerate overnight, cover each with plastic wrap.
  3. To make the Anise Brittle: Line a baking sheet with foil and rub with the butter. Combine the sugar, corn syrup, and 2 tablespoons of water in a small, heavy saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Then bring to a boil and simmer until the bubbles begin to break much more slowly. (Note: Molten sugar is extremely hot; handle it with care.) Shortly after that the mixture will start to brown. Caramelize it to a light amber color--not dark brown. Remove from the heat and stir in the fennel seeds and baking soda (the mixture will bubble up slowly and expand like a science experiment). Scoop it out onto the buttered foil with a spatula and spread thinly; it will continue bubbling for a few seconds. Cool completely, then chop the hard brittle into small, rough pieces.
  4. To serve, top each Panna Cotta with a few berries and scatter with the chopped brittle.


  • Note: You can substitute 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract for the vanilla bean.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 412 calories; 25.9 43.6 4.2 91 104 Full nutrition


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