Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Southern Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Salty Bourbon Caramel Sauce

Things are finally starting to settle down around here, besides the fact that I have two tests today that I just can't get motivated for. But oh well, c'est la vie. Anyway, has it been raining non-stop where y'all are? I mean it's been raining/pouring for two straight weeks and it's driving me nuts. I can't remember the last time we went on a picnic, which is normally a weekly thing for us. And this was one of the desserts I made for our last picnic together. I had never had panna cotta before, but I had always wanted to try it. And then I came across this recipe for a buttermilk version, so I just knew I had to make it. I added a bunch of vanilla beans, and then I topped it with a delicious Salty Bourbon Caramel Sauce & a sprinkling of fleur de sel. You could really present this any way you want, especially for a fancy dinner party, but I love the look of this panna cotta in mason jars for an easy picnic dessert. The caramel and tangy panna cotta are the perfect combination and a great summertime treat!! Enjoy :)

Southern Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Salty Bourbon Caramel Sauce
For the Southern Buttermilk Panna Cotta:
1 ½t Unflavored Gelatin
1 ¼C Heavy Cream
7T Sugar
1 Vanilla Bean Pod, Split Lengthwise & Scraped for Seeds
1 ¾C Buttermilk

For the Salty Bourbon Caramel Sauce:
½C Sugar
1 ½T Bourbon, Divided
½t Corn Syrup
¼C Heavy Cream
3T Unsalted Butter, Cut into ½inch Cubes
¼t Sea Salt
¾t Vanilla

1. Soften gelatin in 1 tbsp. cold water in a medium bowl for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, put cream and sugar into a small saucepan. Scrape seeds from vanilla pod into pan, then add pod. Heat cream over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves, 3–5 minutes, and then stir into bowl with gelatin. Stir in buttermilk, and then strain into another bowl.
2. Divide custard between six 8-oz. ramekins or mason jars, and refrigerate until set, about 3 hours. To unmold, dip ramekins into a dish of hot water, then invert custards onto plates. (Note: I don’t invert — I prefer serving the panna cotta in their ramekins with a spoon.) Garnish with raspberries or other fruit, if you like.
3. For the Salty Bourbon Caramel Sauce: Stir together the sugar, 1T of bourbon, corn syrup, and 1T water in a deep saucepan over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat, bring to a boil without stirring, and cook, occasionally swirling the pan and brushing down the sides with a wet pastry brush, until sugar is a deep amber color, about 6-8 minutes. Remove the caramel from the heat and whisk in the heavy cream, butter, and sea salt (the mixture will bubble vigorously). Let it cool for 5 minutes, and then whisk in the remaining ½T of bourbon and vanilla. Let the bourbon caramel cool slightly on your kitchen counter. The caramel can be made 2 hours ahead of time, but continue to let the caramel stand at room temperature until you are ready to use it.
4. Once the panna cotta ramekins or jars have chilled and set, generously pour the salty bourbon caramel sauce over the tops of the panna cotta. However, if you would like to remove the panna cotta onto a plate, dip the ramekin into a dish of hot water, and invert onto your serving dish. Drizzle the tops with the salty bourbon caramel sauce.

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