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Saffron, one of the world’s most precious spices, provides a fragrant elegance to panna cottas. Combined with lemon zest (and no booze), this yellow-hued creamy fantasticness reminded me of the many Indian desserts I’ve enjoyed over the years. Here I paired the panna cotta with a blackberry syrup I adapted from my personal cooking bible, Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything. As much as my friends and I enjoyed the saffron panna cotta, we relished in the blackberry syrup. I served it on my morning bowl of oatmeal for a week.

Recipe for 2.5 cups

Adpated from this recipe by Gina DePalma

  • 1 packet Knox gelatin
  • ¼ cup milk (for blooming gelatin)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon saffron threads
  • Zest of ½ lemon

Sprinkle the packet of gelatin on top of ¼ cup milk. Set aside. In a small saucepan heat up cream, sugar, saffron, and lemon zest. Once sugar dissolves, set aside pan and let the saffron and lemon zest steep for 10-minutes. Strain the cream mixture to remove saffron and zest, and reheat until warm. Once warm, pour over the bloomed gelatin. Stir until gelatin dissolves. Refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours.

Blackberry Syrup (adapted from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman)

  • 1 cup fresh blackberries
  • 1 ½ teaspoon cornstarch
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water

Combine blackberries, cornstarch, sugar, and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until syrup thickens. Strain, if desired. Spoon over set panna cotta.



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