I just love all the desserts that pop up each year at Christmas time. Peppermint & eggnog are everywhere these days and it’s such a treat! This Christmas Panna Cotta is a new one and it happened almost accidentally. SOLO Foods wrote to me, asking if I was interested in creating a recipe for their Sweetest 16 contest. I don’t have anything against contests but I typically don’t participate (especially anything that has online voting; I like to put my work into the recipe, not pandering afterward for online votes) and I never, ever use prepared pastry and pie filling – yet, for some reason, I agreed. I was in a creative baking mood that day and I thought, what the heck? Let’s see if I can come up with something delicious!
When the box arrived, I instantly went for the Raspberry Pastry & Pie Filling since 1) I love raspberry and 2) it’s red, for Christmas! I grabbed a small spoon and gave it a taste so I could decide what steps I’d need to take to make it taste homemade and delicious. But…WOW…it was good. REALLY good. It has a full raspberry flavor and none of the artificial flavor I’d assumed it would have. I’m still shocked at how tasty it is. Since there was no need to change its flavor, I realized that I could use it as it’s intended – as a filling. But what to fill? Muffins? Cookies? Cake? And how to incorporate the other colors of Christmas?
I decided to go to my trusty old standby – Panna Cotta. Easy, sophisticated, delicious…and it would go perfectly with raspberry. The white of the Panna Cotta reminds me of Christmas snow:
I “hid” the filling so that only when you took a spoonful did you realize that there was more to it than just the creamy Panna Cotta. It was simple: make one batch (takes about 5 minutes to put together – so easy!), pour into dishes and chill. Top with raspberry filling then with another batch of Panna Cotta mixture, then chill until ready!
I also like it layered so that you can see the raspberry. Here I served it in tiny dessert dishes with sprinkles of chocolate; you could serve a big crowd if you used these!
Creamy Raspberry Panna Cotta
- 4 cups heavy cream, divided
- 1/2 cup sugar, divided
- 2 t pure vanilla extract, divided
- 2 packets plain powdered gelatin, divided
- 6 tablespoons cold water, divided
- 1 can SOLO Raspberry Cake & Pastry Filling
- chocolate shavings and some mint for garnishing, if desired
- Heat 2 cups of the heavy cream, 1/4 cup of sugar and 1 t vanilla in a saucepan, stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved.
- Sprinkle 1 packet gelatin over 3 T cold water in a let stand at least 5 minutes.
- Stir the gelatin into the warm cream mixture until it’s completely dissolved.
- Pour into dessert molds or dishes, cover lightly and chill three hours.
- About 20 minutes before panna cotta in fridge is set, repeat steps 1-3 with remaining cream, sugar, vanilla, water and gelatin. Allow to cool to lukewarm while panna cotta in fridge finishes setting.
- Remove panna cotta from fridge. Spoon raspberry pastry filling over set panna cotta, dividing evenly between dishes (spread to edges to allow filling to show through or leave in center to “hide” filling). Gently pour cooled cream mixture over filling. Place back in fridge and allow to set for 4-5 hours.
- Remove from fridge when ready to serve. Garnish with shaved chocolate and sprigs of mint.