A very popular event in the States, that is just about to be adopted over here in Germany. With the huge success of Sex and the City almost everyone (who was their target audience again? ;) has at least heard of it – a party thrown for the mother-to-be who is joyously expecting her first child. A great event for a girls get-together (reverse discrimination because this party is for females only?), that is all about the soon-to-be-mom and her soon-to-arrive-baby. Girls, games, chitchat, presents, food and loads of fun!
My first baby shower experience took place in Atlanta, USA, a few years ago, and probably couldn’t exactly qualify as one, because some hubbies “snuck in” (is there a trend?)… Actually, it was very entertaining if not exhilarating to watch them blush in various shades over discussions on c-sections, breast-feeding and other delicate topics!
The setup for the baby shower last Friday was completely different: The host did a perfect job in decorating the party scene with pink items everywhere and all the invitees brought delicious food. Somehow in contrast to one of the games: Baby Food Taste Test, including several masked jars with different flavors of baby food. Urgghhh! Out of the five jars, only two I could get friends with. The other three had a rather strange smell, I hardly could focus on their taste anymore. I remember my mom telling me over a thousand times how difficult is was for her to feed me this sort of baby-food and that she had to ultimately change my nutrition – seems she must have finally gotten the hint, that even a baby can have some culinary standards! Probably not, I guess I was just being difficult… ;)
Luckily, I was being tasked with helping out on the dessert front – which I always love to do! Lately, I’ve been experimenting with different kinds of fruit panna cotta. Starting off with a panna cotta cream basis (reduced cream, sugar, vanilla bean, soaked gelatin) and then added different fresh fruit purees (raspberry, green grapes, apricots, passion fruit). The results varied quite a bit in taste (intensity) and texture, even though I added the same amount of fruit puree in every jar. The one with grapes, for instance, had problems to jell, even after four hours. But over night they all developed a very creamy, smooth consistency. For the baby shower I prepared little ceramic pots with half raspberry, half passion fruit panna cotta, which were my two favorite tastes out of the recently tested four. As an eatable decoration I dipped a handful of physalis in melted chocolate, which were also chilled. To appease my creative demands, some cutout-happy-baby-prints on toothpicks gave the finishing touch.
I keep thinking about further and even more extravagant variations, but O. ask me to have a break. No more panna cotta for the next weeks… ;)
Basic Panna Cotta with fruit variation
Recipe Source: mix of various recipes
Prep time: about 20 min., chilling: best over night
Ingredients (serves 4):
400 ml cream
2-3 tsp sugar (depending on the sweetness of the added fruit puree)
1 vanilla bean
2-3 sheets gelatine (I prefer less - for smoother results)
50-100g fruit puree (trial and error works best, also depends on the used fruits)
physalis/chocolate for decoration