Desserts - tuned for winter
January 5th, 2006

Sometimes there is nothing better than grabbing a cup of tea and browsing the tons of cookbooks, the numerous recipes stored on my pc or going through my rather chaotic recipe box just to find this very one extravagant recipe I have no choice but to try. But then there are also times, when I don’t have the time or the muse to venture out on unknown terrain. The latter pretty much sums it up – my state of mind during Christmas season. Since we were already decided on the more elaborate main courses, what I needed was a quick win so to say. A dessert, that I could whip out just like that, however, maintaining the overall culinary momentum.

Pomegranate Yogurt Panna Cotta

Regular d:d readers will probably have noticed, that I have and always had a weak spot for anything panna cotta and equally so for delicious crème brûlée recipes which have made me a happy cook throughout the last year.

Using known and proven recipes, adding a little touch of winter, I felt comfortable handling the upcoming two major dinner dates on our calendar given both of our work schedules.

2005 Food Blog Awards: Now that I have finally gained control over my blushing, I can say I’m deeply honored finding d:d nominated as one of five finalists for the categories Best Food Blog – Reader’s ChoiceBest New Food BlogBest Food Blog – PhotographyBest Food Blog – Recipes of the 2005 Food Blog Awards hosted by Kate over at Accidental Hedonist. Thank You! to everyone who nominated us! For those of you who would like to vote, the polls will remain open until 12 midnight PST on January 18th.

Pomegranate Yogurt Panna Cotta unmolded

Pomegranate Yogurt Panna Cotta

White cream/yogurt layer
1 Heat cream, add sugar and the vanilla bean (scraped out seeds and shell). Let it lightly cook for about 15 minutes and stir every now and then. Remove the vanilla pod from the pot and the pot from the heat.

Meanwhile soak the sheets of gelatin in a small bowl of water (for about 5-10 min). Squeeze well and add them to the cream mixture. Stir thoroughly until the gelatin has completely dissolved. Blend well with the Greek yogurt.

Light pink cream/yogurt/pomegranate layer
Simply use half of the above cream/yogurt mass and add pomegranate juice to provide color and taste per your liking (I used about 5 tsp).

Red pomegranate jello layer
1 Add equal amounts of juice and water to a bowl and put on medium heat, no boiling necessary. Add sugar to taste.

Soak the 2 leaves of gelatin in water (for about 5-10 min) and add them to the diluted juice. Stir thoroughly until the gelatin has completely dissolved.

The final steps involve turn by turn chilling of the different layers. Starting with the top layer (red) and a chilling time of at least 1-2 hours in the fridge, followed by a pink layer, more chilling…and so forth. I experiment quite a bit with different numbers of layers, even added a few pomegranate seeds to [still liquid] jello layers before chilling them again. The key really is to wait long enough so the layers don’t mix, while keeping your mixtures in the pots at a lukewarm temperature, to be used for the next layers – not necessarily the quickest dessert after all.

Note: Accuracy is essential when filling glasses with different layers, wiping away extra/superfluous drops just won’t work with glass – as you will always see the evidence afterwards. (*cough*…got a few of those, too).

To unmold the panna cotta, briefly dip the form in hot water and carefully flip it over on a plate. Decorate with some extra pomegranate seeds.

Lebkuchen Crème Brûlée

Gingerbread Crème Brûlée

The steps involved to make this seasonal dessert are in principle the same as here. With the difference of using gingerbread pieces instead of Earl Grey tea.

With or without experimenting, both desserts are definite keepers, certainly with a seasonal character, but delicious nevertheless.

Pomegranate Yogurt Panna Cotta

Recipe Source: Own creation

Prep time: about 40 min., chilling: at least 8 hours

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Ingredients for white/pink layer (serves 6):

250 ml heavy cream

100g sugar

1 vanilla bean

400ml Greek yogurt

5 sheets gelatine

about 5 tsp pomegranate juice, freshly squeezed

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Ingredients for pomegranate jello:

juice of one medium-sized pomegranate, freshly squeezed

equal amount of water

sugar to taste

2 sheets gelatine

for decoration: some extra pomegranate seeds

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Gingerbread ("Lebkuchen") Crème Brûlée

Recipe source: Own creation

Required time: prep. 30 min., baking 25 min., chilling: best over night, serves 4

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Ingredients:

450ml heavy cream

one vanilla bean

gingerbread pieces (1 regular German "Lebkuchen")

4 egg yolks

50g sugar

fine caster sugar for caramelizing

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