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Vanilla Panna Cotta with Poached Cherries and Merlot Chocolate Sauce

Tuesday, February 28, 2006 at 08:40PM
Posted by Registered CommenterTselani

The mere thought of cherries and chocolate together makes my toes curl in delight.  That’s why I created this surprisingly easy recipe of poached cherries, creamy vanilla panna cotta and chocolate sauce laced with Merlot.  Adding Merlot gives the chocolate a bite which offsets the tang of the yogurt in the panna cotta.  I prefer to use Queen Anns for this recipe because they have the perfect sweet/tart balance.  Refrigerate the leftover chocolate sauce and then reheat gently to use on ice cream sundaes, cheesecake and fresh fruit.  Or eat it straight out of the pan – when no one is looking.  Make this recipe for someone you love. 

Serves 4

½ c water, divided
1 packet unflavored gelatin
2 c heavy cream
½ c + 2 T sugar
2 c plain nonfat yogurt
1 ½ t pure vanilla extract
1 ½ c cherries, pitted and halved
Juice of ½ lemon
1 t corn starch
8 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1/3 c Merlot

To prepare the panna cotta, sprinkle gelatin over ¼ c water in a small bowl.  Let the gelatin bloom for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, pour 1 ¼ c heavy cream to a saucepan over medium heat.  Add ½ c sugar and stir until dissolved.  When mixture comes to a slow boil, remove from heat and add gelatin.  Stir until gelatin is completely dissolved.  Mix in yogurt and vanilla.  Pour mixture into four ¾ c ramekins and refrigerate overnight.  When ready to serve, run a small knife around the edges of each dish.  Unmold onto each panna cotta on its own plate.

For the cherries, put halved cherries in a small sauce pan over medium heat.  Add ¼ c water, lemon juice, 2 T sugar and cornstarch.  Bring to a boil and boil for five minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

For the chocolate, pour Merlot and ¾ c heavy cream into a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Bring mixture to a boil.  Remove from heat and add chocolate, stirring until chocolate has melted and sauce is smooth.

To serve, drizzle chocolate sauce and cherries over panna cotta and serve.

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