Panna Cotta with Berry Sauce

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A friend of mine made panna cotta with raspberry sauce and was very happy with them!  This is another recipe that requires no alterations to make gluten free.

Original recipe

 

Panna Cotta with Berry Sauce
From Natasha’s Kitchen

Yield: 6-8 servings

For panna cotta:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 packet (2 1/2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream

For berry sauce:

  • 2 cups berries, divided
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice

 

Make panna cotta:

  1. Off the heat, place 1 cup milk in a medium saucepan and sprinkle the top with 1 packet gelatin. Let stand 3-5 minutes, or until gelatin is softened.
  2. Place pan over medium-low heat and stir until gelatin dissolves and mixture is steaming, about 4-5 minutes (do not boil).
  3. Add 2 cups heavy whipping cream, 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and a pinch of salt.
  4. Continue stirring about 5 minutes until sugar is fully dissolved and mixture is steaming (do not boil).
  5. Remove from heat and let cool 5 minutes.
  6. Place sour cream in a medium bowl with a pouring lip. Whisking constantly, gradually add warm cream.
  7. Once the mixture is completely smooth, divide it into 6 wine glasses or 8 ramekins. Refrigerate until fully set, 4-6 hours.

Make berry sauce:

  1. In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup berries, 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice, and 3 tablespoons sugar.
  2. Bring to a low boil and cook 4-5 minutes or until syrupy.
  3. Stir in remaining 1 cup of fresh berries and remove from heat.
  4. When syrup is at room temperature or just barely warm, spoon it over the top of chilled panna cottas.
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Rasmalai (Sweetened Cheese Disks in Saffron Milk Syrup)

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A friend of mine had rasmalai or ras malai in a restaurant and enjoyed it so much that he wanted to try making it.  This is an Indian dessert consisting of soft cheese disks boiled in cardamom sugar syrup and served in thick saffron milk syrup, garnished with chopped pistachios.  Although the recipe looks complicated, it only took us a little over 2 hours and turned out to be very tasty.  If you have leftover milk syrup, you can even mix it with rum to make an eggnog-like drink!

Original recipe

 

Rasmalai (Sweetened Cheese Disks in Saffron Milk Syrup)
From HealthyIndianRecipes

Yield: 4 servings

For rabri (thickened milk):

  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1⁄2 cup sugar
  • Pinch of saffron (optional)

For chenna (cheese):

  • 5 cups whole milk
  • 2-3 teaspoons lemon juice OR vinegar
  • 2-3 tablespoons water
  • 4 cups ice water OR ice cubes

For sugar syrup:

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon cardamom powder

For topping:

  • 2 tablespoons chopped pistachios OR sliced almonds (optional)

 

 

Make rabri (thickened milk syrup):

  1. Pour 3 cups milk into a heavy-bottomed pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add saffron (if using) and sugar when the milk comes to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium.  Stir every 2 to 3 minutes to prevent the milk from scorching on the bottom.
  4. When a layer of cream forms, just push it aside.
  5. Boil until the milk thickens and reduces by about half.  Set aside to cool.
  6. When the milk has cooled completely, chill it in the fridge.  (Alternatively, put in freezer to cool faster, but check frequently to make sure you don’t freeze it.)

Make chenna (cheese disks):

  1. In a heavy-bottomed pot, bring 5 cups milk to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together lemon juice OR vinegar and water.
  3. Add diluted lemon juice OR vinegar to the milk and stir until the milk curdles completely.  Pour in more lemon juice or vinegar if needed, but too much of it will make the chenna hard.  The leftover liquid (whey) will look greenish.
  4. Turn off heat, then add ice water or ice cubes to the pot and set aside for 2 minutes.  This will help keep the cheese soft.
  5. Line a colander with cheesecloth and drain curds and whey through cheesecloth.
  6. Squeeze out excess whey, gather together the edges of the cheesecloth, and tie a knot.
  7. Rinse under the faucet to remove the taste of lemon OR vinegar.  Squeeze out excess water.
  8. Hang it over a bowl for about 45 minutes to 1 hour for the excess whey to drain off.  The cheese will be just moist, with no dripping water.  It should not be sticky.
  9. Transfer the cheese to a plate. Knead well (squeeze with hands) for about 3-5 minutes until it is smooth and no longer crumbly.  Do not knead so long that the cheese begins to release grease or fats.
  10. Make 12 equal balls and flatten them to make disks. If the disks are slightly cracked on the sides, roll the sides gently. Cover and set aside.

Make sugar syrup:

  1. In a heavy-bottomed pot, combine 3 cups of water with 1 cup sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves completely.
  2. Bring to a boil, then add cardamom powder.
  3. Add the cheese disks to boiling syrup gently.
  4. Cook covered for 8 minutes on a medium-high heat.  The disks will double in size.

Assemble rasmalai:

  1. Remove the disks one by one and cool on a plate.
  2. Squeeze them gently between your palms to remove absorbed sugar syrup.
  3. Add these to the pot of chilled, thickened milk.  If desired, simmer for 1-2 minutes on low heat so cheese can absorb milk.  However, do not overcook or the disks will break up.
  4. Allow to rest for few hours if desired.
  5. Chill and garnish with chopped nuts (if desired) before serving.

Caramel-Topped Flan

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Caramel-topped flan is another great dessert for the hot summer months.  It’s cool and slinky and refreshing.

 

Caramel-Topped Flan
From Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours

Yield: One 8-inch flan OR 6 (6-oz) ramekins OR 7-8 (4-oz) ramekins

For the caramel:

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • Squirt of fresh lemon juice

For the flan:

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

 

  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Line a roasting pan or 9-by-13 inch baking pan with a double thickness of paper towels.
  2. Fill a teakettle with water and put it on to boil; when the water boils, turn off heat.
  3. Put a metal 8-inch round cake pan with 2-inch sides – not a nonstick one – in the oven to heat while you prepare the caramel.  (If you are using individual molds or ramekins, then skip this step.)
  4. Stir the sugar, water, and lemon juice together in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan.
  5. Put the pan over medium-high heat and cook until the sugar becomes an amber-colored caramel, about 5-10 minutes.  The sugar will bubble.  Remove the pan from the heat at the first whiff of smoke.
  6. Remove the cake pan from the oven and, working with oven mitts, pour the caramel into the pan and immediately tilt the pan to spread the caramel evenly over the bottom; set the pan aside.
  7. Bring the milk and heavy cream just to a boil.
  8. Meanwhile, in a 2-quart glass measuring cup or in a bowl, whisk together the eggs, yolks, and sugar.
  9. Whisk vigorously for a minute or two, and then stir in the vanilla.
  10. Still whisking, drizzle in about one quarter of the hot liquid to temper, or warm, the eggs so they won’t curdle.
  11. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remainder of the hot cream and milk.
  12. Using a large spoon, skim off the bubbles and foam that you worked up.
  13. Put the caramel-lined cake pan in the roasting pan.
  14. Pour the custard into the cake pan and slide the setup into the oven.  Very carefully pour enough hot water from the kettle into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the cake pan. (Don’t worry if this sets the cake pan afloat.)
  15. Bake the flan for about 35 minutes, or until the top puffs a bit and is golden here and there.  It will be very jiggly, but a knife inserted into the center of the flan should come out clean.  (If using small, individual molds, start checking for doneness around the 25-minute mark).
  16. Remove the roasting pan from the oven, transfer the cake pan to a cooking rack, and run a thin knife between the flan and the sides of the pan to loosen it.
  17. Let the flan cool to room temperature on the rack, then loosely cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.  Covered with plastic wrap in its baking pan, the flan will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
  18. When ready to serve, once more, run a thin knife between the flan and the pan. Choose a rimmed serving platter, place the platter over the cake pan, quickly flip the platter and pan over, and remove the cake pan.  The flan will shimmy out and the caramel sauce will coat the custard.  Once unmolded, its best to enjoy it the same day, otherwise the top will start to look wrinkly.  (It will still taste the same.)
  19. Bring the flan to the table and cut into wedges. Spoon some of the syrup onto each plate.

Spago Cheesecake

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This cheesecake is rich and creamy and translates well to gluten-free-ness.

Baking notes:

  • With a hot water bath during baking, it’s a little scary to remove the pans from the oven, but I found that placing the pans on a large baking sheet decreases the risk of burning yourself.
  • If you’re impatient and don’t mind a slightly warm cheesecake, you can eat it the same day you bake it.

Original recipe

 

Spago Cheesecake
Adapted from Wolfgang Puck

Yield: 9-inch cake

Crust:

  • 1/2 cup gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 cup pecans (or walnuts), finely chopped OR 1/2 cup gluten-free flour
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar OR 2 tablespoons white sugar+dollop molasses
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

Filling:

  • 1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sour cream OR plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs

 

  1. Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Butter or coat with nonstick spray, the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.
  2. In a large bowl, assemble all the ingredients for the crust.  Mix them together with your hands.  If using nuts, the mixture will resemble very small pebbles.  If using only flour, the mixture will resemble damp sand.
  3. Press the crust into the bottom of the springform pan, covering the base completely and evenly. Wrap heavy-duty aluminum foil, or two layers of regular foil, around the pan’s bottom and halfway up its sides, pleating the foil to tighten it securely.
  4. Bake the crust for 10 minutes. Because it’s gluten free, it will remain light in color.  Remove from the oven and set aside.
  5. To make the filling: Put the cream cheese, sugar, and salt in the large bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle or beaters or in a large mixing bowl. Using the stand mixer or a hand mixer on medium speed, beat the ingredients until smooth, stopping often to scrape down the sides of the bowl and under the blades with a rubber spatula.
  6. Turn the speed high and continue to beat until mixture is creamy.
  7. Stop the mixer and add the sour cream OR plain yogurt, rum, lemon juice, and vanilla; then, on medium speed, continue beating until well blended.
  8. Add the eggs and beat just until combined.
  9. Scrape the filling into the prepared springform pan.
  10. Bring a kettle of water to a boil. Place the springform pan inside a slightly larger baking pan. Use an oven glove, pull out the oven shelf and place the baking pan on it. Pour enough hot water into the pan to reach halfway up the sides of the springform pan, but not above the foil. Carefully slide the shelf into the oven and bake the cheesecake until its top is slightly golden and slightly firm in the center, about one hour and 10 minutes.
  11. Carefully remove the baking pan from the oven. Lift out the springform pan and place it on a wire rack to cool, carefully folding down the foil on its sides to promote quicker cooling. When the pan is cool enough to touch, completely remove the foil and continue cooling. When the cheesecake is completely cool, cover the pan loosely with a clean sheet of foil and refrigerate overnight.
  12. When ready to serve, remove the cheesecake from the refrigerator. Dip a long, sharp knife in warm water and run the knife around the inside of the springform pan to loosen the cake. Remove the outer ring. Continue to dip the knife into warm water as necessary as you cut neat wedges.