Adding bourbon to dessert is a great way to win a man’s heart on Valentine’s Day, but it’s a treat that women will love, too. I first tested my bourbon panna cotta on dear friends visiting from out of town who had previously tried (and loved) my plain panna cotta recipe. Upon serving it, all conversation ceased; the only sound was the clinking of spoons against the serving glasses. Not one bite went to waste. I think they liked it.
Bourbon Panna Cotta
The original recipe (minus the bourbon) can be found in What’s Cooking America?
1 envelope of unflavored gelatin (approx. 2 teaspoons)
1/2 cup milk or half and half
2 1/2 cups heavy cream*
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 to 1 1/2 T of bourbon (depending how strong you like your bourbon flavor)
Directions: In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 1/2 cup milk; let stand until the gelatin is softened while preparing cream. In a large saucepan, combine heavy cream and sugar. Add vanilla extract. Bring cream just to a simmer (do not let it boil), whisking occasionally until sugar has completely dissolved; remove from heat. Add the softened gelatin mixture and whisk to completely dissolve the gelatin. (The original recipe suggests straining the hot cream mixture. I’ve never done this and, in hindsight, never felt like I should have.) Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
Panna cotta can be served in any dish or bowl, or unmolded after formed in a ramekin. I’ve also served it in red wine glasses, martini glasses, and vintage champagne glasses. It can also be easily packed up for picnics or served in mason or jam jars if you’re taking it to friends.
Makes 4 to 6 servings (depending on size of the serving cups).