Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Strawberries & Roasted Rhubarb

Meredith Ciaburri of The Artisan Kitchen in Rochester, MA
shares this terrific dessert.
• 1 packet plain gelatin
• 3 Tablespoons cold water
• 14 ounces heavy cream
• ½ cup sugar
• 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
• 7 ounces buttermilk or plain yogurt
• 12 ounces rhubarb, cut to 1-inch lengths
• ¼ cup sugar
• 2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
• 2 Tablespoons sugar
• 1 teaspoon lemon juice
Put water in small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over, without stirring.
Let stand 5 minutes.
In a small saucepan, heat about half the heavy cream, ½ cup
sugar and the vanilla bean until it comes to a light simmer.
Remove the pan from the heat, remove the vanilla bean
pod, and add the softened gelatin. Whisk to dissolve it.
When gelatin is entirely dissolved, stir in the rest of the cream.
It should feel very warm, but not hot. Whisk in the buttermilk
or yogurt. Sieve the mixture if you sense any lumpiness.
Pour the mixture into a mold or molds if you’d like to unmold
it to serve, or into individual serving glasses or bowls. (Meredith
likes to use vintage jars or sundae cups.)
Chill at least four hours; panna cotta may be made two days
in advance.
Toss the rhubarb with ¼ cup sugar and place on a baking pan
with sides. Bake at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes, stirring
once or twice, or until it is soft and lightly brown just at the
edges. If you would like a fine puree, whiz in food processor;
either way, at this point the rhubarb can be kept chilled up
to two days.
To serve, crush the strawberries with 2 tablespoons sugar and
the lemon juice, leaving the texture on the chunky side. When
sugar is dissolved, stir strawberries and rhubarb together. Allow
the flavors to blend at least 5 minutes before serving.
Unmold panna cotta if necessary. Give each diner a hefty
spoonful of the delicious fruit sauce. Meredith likes to garnish
each serving with a crisp meringue cookie for contrast.
Serves 4.

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