Blackberry Mille-Feuille

So, you may be wondering what exactly a Mille-Feuille is? I know I was wondering that when a friend tagged me in an Instagram post for Ree Drummond’s Marvelous Mille-Feuille. Translated from French it means one thousand sheets, layer, or leaves. Still wondering? Well, it’s a dessert consisting of layers of puff pastry and cream… Think a Napoleon. For this version though I added in some blackberries along with a custard made with mascarpone cheese… YUM! A slight variation from Ree Drummond’s as she used raspberries. Why did I use blackberries? Well, it was because the recipe called for raspberry liqueur and since I still had some blackberry liqueur from last year’s White Chocolate Blackberry Tiramisu I decided to swap out the berries.

I began by thawing a frozen sheet of puff pastry according to the package directions – I used Pepperidge Farm’s Frozen Puff Pastry. Once it was defrosted I rolled it into a 12 x 15 inch rectangle and then cut it into three 12 x 5 inch rectangles. I placed the three pieces on a parchment lined baking sheet and pricked it with a work and then placed it in the refrigerator for 20 minutes (alternatively you could place it in the freezer for 10 minutes.

While the puff pastry was in the fridge I preheated the oven to 425 F. Once the puff pastry was perfectly chilled, I sprinkled each rectangle with confectioners’ sugar…

And baked it in the oven from about 15 minutes. Until the puff pastry was a golden brown and puffy. I the transferred them to a wire rack to cool.

While the puff pastry cooled, I made the filling. In the bowl of my stand mixer I added confectioners’ sugar, mascarpone cheese, heavy cream and vanilla paste and whisked it until soft peaks formed. I then added in the blackberry liqueur and lemon zest and whisked for a few more second until the ingredients were combined.

It was then time to assemble. I placed a dab of the whipped mixture on a serving plate and place one of the puff pastry’s on the plate glaze-side down. I spread half of the mascarpone mixture over the puff pastry and then arranged half of the blackberries on top.

I repeated this with another puff pastry rectangle and the remaining mascarpone mixture and berries. I then topped it with the remaining puff pastry rectangle and before serving I dusted it with more confectioners’ sugar.

Verdict… It was a hit! I can’t wait to make it again using freshly picked berries… Maybe I’ll try making it with raspberries next.

Blackberry Mille-Feuille

Ingredients:

1 14-oz. sheet frozen all-butter puff pastry, thawed

2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting the pastry and the finished dish

8 ounces mascarpone cheese

1 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

2 tablespoons blackberry liqueur

zest of 1 lemon

3 – 4 cups fresh blackberries

 

Directions:

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Unfold the pastry and roll it to a 12 x 15 inch rectangle and then cut into three 12 x 5 inch rectangles. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and prick the pastry with a fork and chill for 10 minutes in the freezer or 20 minutes in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

Dust the pastry with confectioners’ sugar and bake until golden brown and puffy, about 15 minutes. All to cool for about 15 minutes on a wire rack.

In a bowl add the confectioners’ sugar, mascarpone, heavy cream and vanilla paste/extract, beat until soft peaks form – If using a stand mixer use the whisk attachment. Add the blackberry liqueur and lemon zest and continue mixing for an additional 10 seconds to ensure the ingredients are all combined.

To Assemble: Dab a dollop of the mascarpone mixture on the serving plate and place one piece of the pastry on the plate – glaze-sized down (the side you sprinkled the sugar on). Spoon half of the mascarpone mixture on the pastry and smooth it out evenly. Arrange half of the blackberries on top and repeat with another piece of pasty and the remaining mascarpone mixture and blackberries. Top with the remaining pastry piece and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Recipe adapted from Ree Drummond

S’mores Icebox Cake

Happy National S’mores Day! Isn’t it insane how there’s a day for everything?!?! Today is also National Lazy Day so if you feel like doing nothing you have a decent excuse. And if you want to prepare yourself for tomorrow… August 11th is National Son’s and Daughter’s Day, National President Joke Day and National Raspberry Bombe Day. And if you are so incline to go further than that check out the National Day Calendar website. So, would you believe that even though I have been sharing s’mores related desserts on my blog for the past couple of years I had never had a s’more until this past weekend? I can’t really say why, maybe it’s because I have never been camping, but, that’s not a good excuse. Truth is, I don’t care for marshmallows that much. But, after making this cake I realized that I like toasted marshmallows! I guess it’s like toasting bread, somehow it just tastes better that way.

Before assembling the cake I made ganache, chocolate whipped cream and marshmallow whipped cream. In case you are wondering at the moment and you can’t wait to get to the directions, to make the marshmallow whipped cream I roasted marshmallows in the oven under the broiler, let them cool and then whipped them with heavy cream. I am beginning to learn that you can make any type of whipped cream. I recently came across a recipe with coconut whipped cream using just the coconut solids from a refrigerated can of coconut milk. It’s essentially a vegan version of whipped cream, but, nonetheless I really want to try it.

Next, I assembled the cake. After lining a 9×5 loaf pan with plastic wrap – leaving an overhang on the long sides – I placed a single layer of chocolate graham crackers along the bottom. Breaking the pieces as necessary. Now, I am sure if you want more of an “authentic” s’mores flavor you could swap out the chocolate graham crackers for honey (or cinnamon) flavored ones. Truth be told, these chocolate graham crackers aren’t available everywhere. And did know they make vanilla ones now? I am really hoping this isn’t going to become like M&M’s or Oreos where there are more flavors than you can name or remember. Back to the cake though… Once I had a layer of graham crackers I then spread half of the marshmallow whipped cream over them and drizzled it with a few tablespoons of the chocolate ganache.

I repeated the layers again this time with the chocolate whipped cream, and then another with the marshmallow whipped cream and one last one with the chocolate whipped cream. Finally, I topped it with a layer of the graham crackers. I folded the overhanging plastic wrap over the cake and refrigerated it overnight. I also placed the remaining ganache in the fridge as well. And, I placed 2 whole graham crackers in a Ziploc bag and crushed them with a rolling pin until they were fine crumbs.

The next day, before removing the cake from the fridge, I heated the ganache in the microwave until it was pourable and let it cool for an hour. I also cut 9 marshmallows in half and placed them on a greased baking sheet in a tight 3-by-6 rectangle and broiled them until they were toasted and bubbling. I also let this cool for an hour.

To finish the cake, I inverted it onto a platter and then pressed the chocolate crumbs onto the sides of it. I poured the leftover ganache over the top and spread it into a thin layer – allowing the excess to fall over the sides of the cake. And finally, I removed the marshmallow rectangle from the baking sheet and placed it on top of the cake. And there you have it, a S’mores Icebox Cake.

And you can see after slicing it the layers were distinct. This cake was a hit… especially those roasted marshmallows. My favorite part! I think if I make this again I will opt to use the honey or cinnamon graham crackers just so that the chocolate isn’t the focal point of the cake.

Here are some more s’mores related desserts:

S’mores Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

S’mores Brownies 

Malted S’mores Ice Cream

 

S'mores Icebox Cake

Ingredients:

4 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped

2 1/2 cups heavy cream

24 marshmallows

3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

16-18 whole chocolate graham crackers

unsalted butter, for the baking sheet

 

Directions:

Preheat the broiler.

Make the ganache: Put the chocolate in a small bowl. Bring 1/2 cup of heavy cream to a simmer in a small saucepan. Pour over the chocolate and let stand for 5 minutes until stirring until smooth. Set aside to cool.

Butter a baking sheet, then arrange 15 marshmallows on the baking sheet. Broil until toasted and bubbling, 30 second to 1 minute. Set aside to cool.

Combine 1 cup heavy cream, the cocoa powder and confectioners’ sugar in a large bowl and beat with a mixer on medium speed until stiff peaks form.

Combine the remaining 1 cup heavy cream and the broiled marshmallows in another medium and beat with a mixer on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Don’t worry if bits of marshmallow remain.

Line a 9×5-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, leaving a 4-inch overhang on the long sides. Line the bottom of the pan with a single layer of chocolate graham crackers, break the crackers to fit as needed. Spread half of the marshmallow mixture over the graham crackers and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the chocolate ganache. Repeat this step, but using the chocolate whipped cream instead of the marshmallow one.  Repeat again using the marshmallow whipped cream and then finally the chocolate whipped cream. Top with a layer of graham crackers and then wrap the overhanging plastic wrap over the cake and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Crush the remaining graham crackers into finely ground crumbs by placing them in a resealable plastic bag and rolling them with a rolling pin, set aside. Place the remaining ganache in the refrigerator.

About an hour before serving preheat the broiler. Warm the reserved ganache in the microwave until pourable and set aside for an hour to cool. Butter a baking sheet and cut the remaining 9 marshmallows in half and arrange them on the baking sheet in a tight 3 x 6 rectangle – the marshmallows should be touching. Broil until toasted and bubbling and then let cool for an hour.

Invert the cake onto a platter, discard the plastic wrap and press the graham cracker crumbs onto the sides of the cake. Pour the ganache over the cake and spread into a thin layer letting the it drip down the sides. Finally, remove the toasted marshmallow rectangle in one piece and place on top of the cake.

Recipe from Food Network

Cherry Pie

Happy First Day of Summer! You may recall back in March I posted a Blueberry Pie in honor of Pi Day and that it was the first time I ever had Blueberry Pie, well, another confession. I’ve never had Cherry Pie. So, what better way to celebrate the start of the summer and cherry season than with a Cherry Pie!

First things first… Since I was using fresh cherries I had to pit them. I don’t own a cherry pitter so I pitted the cherries by using a reusable plastic straw. I literally just pushed the straw through the cherry to remove the pit. Check out this link for a few more ideas on how to pit cherries without a cherry pitter.

You may recall I’m not a fan of making pie crust from scratch – one of these days I will attempt to make it again – so I used my usual Pillsbury Pie crust. I rolled out one of the crusts an extra inch or two and then placed it in the bottom of my pie dish.

To prep the filling, I mixed flour, sugar and cinnamon in a Ziploc bag and then added in the cherries and tossed them around in the mixture to make sure they were completely covered.

I then poured the mixture, along with the excess flour mixture, into the pie plate.

Next, I used the second pie crust to top the pie and brushed it with milk and sprinkled sugar on it.

I then baked it in a 425 F preheated oven for 25 minutes and then lowered the oven temperature to 350 F and baked it for an additional 30 minutes. Until the filling was bubbling.

While my crust did come out a little wonky looking, it didn’t take away from how delicious the pie was. There’s something to be said about using fresh fruit… YUM!

 

Cherry Pie

Ingredients:

4 cups sweet cherries, pitted

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

pastry for double-crust 9-inch pie

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 F

Line the bottom of a 9-inch pie dish with one of the pie crusts

In a Ziploc bag combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon. Add the cherries and toss to coat. Add to the pie crust lined-dish

Place the second crust on top and trim the ends. Cut vent slits in the middle of the pie and crimp the edges.

Bake for 25 minutes and then lower the oven temperature to 350 F and bake for another 25 to 30 minutes. If the edges of the pie begin to brown too quickly, tent the pie.

Recipe from Food.com

Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake

The unofficial end of the summer is upon us! A bittersweet time… the lazy days of summer are coming to an end, kids go back to school (yay for crazy morning traffic – that being said in my most unenthusiastic and sarcastic voice) and temperatures begin to drop. Granted, that last fact is a welcome change to me. Fall is upon us! If you didn’t know, it’s my favorite season! There’s pumpkin everything (I’m actually eating a Chobani Flip Pumpkin yogurt as I write this), apple picking, the crisp air in the morning, the leaves changing color and so many other wonderful things. It also leads us to my other favorite time of the year… The Holiday Season! You know, that time between Thanksgiving and Three Kings Day. Well, that’s what I personally consider the Holiday Season to be, I know for some it ends with the New Year. But, before we get to all that and our ovens working overtime baking wonderful holiday treats, I have a dessert for you that’s perfect for any BBQ’s you’ll be heading to this holiday weekend and for any of those random 90+days that are sure to come… An icebox cake, more specifically a Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake.

 I first saw this recipe on Food Network’s Instagram feed. It’s from Ina Garten aka “The Barefoot Contessa” and I knew I had to make it. And then a few weeks later it was featured in their magazine. Its super simple, only requires 1 bowl for mixing and you have don’t have to bake it. You assemble it and let it set overnight in your fridge – hence icebox cake.

 In a large bowl combine heavy cream, mascarpone, sugar, Kahlua, cocoa powder, espresso powder & vanilla extract. Using a hand mixer, mix on low speed until combined and slowly raise the speed until stiff peaks form. Before using this mocha cream of course I had to try it and it tasted similar to the cream used in Tiramisu… Delish!

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Once the cream is made it was time to assemble the cake. I arranged a layer of thin & crispy chocolate chip cookies flat in an 8-inch springform pan. I used Tate’s cookies, which are famous for their thin & crispy texture. If you can’t find Tate’s or you just don’t feel like ordering them, you can try Chips Ahoy’s new Thins Chocolate Chip Cookie. So, after arranging the first layer of cookies, I spread about a fifth of the cream evenly over the cookies. Next, another layer of cookies and then the cream. I continued this layering pattern until I had 5 layers of each, ending with the cream. I then smoothed the top, covered it with plastic wrap and refrigerated it overnight.

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The following day to unmold the cake I ran a sharp knife along the sides and then removed the ring and topped the cake with some shave chocolate.  

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Delicious is an understatement for how good this cake is! The cookies soften due to the cream, but, are left enough with enough texture that you don’t feel like you’re eating mushy cookies… Gross! And the combination of the mocha cream and chocolate chip cookies is just perfect!

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Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake

Ingredients:

2 cups heavy cream, cold

12 ounces mascarpone cheese

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup Kahlua liqueur

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon instant espresso powder

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

24 ounces thin & crispy chocolate chip cookies, about 35

Shaved semi-sweet chocolate, for garnish

Directions:

In a large bowl combine the heavy cream, mascarpone, sugar, Kahlua, cocoa powder, espresso powder & vanilla extract. Using a hand mixer mix on low speed until all ingredients are combined, gradually increase the speed until firm peaks form.

To assemble to the cake, arrange the chocolate chip cookies flat in an 8-inch springform pan, breaking the cookies as necessary to completely cover the bottom of the pan. Spread a fifth of the mocha cream evenly over the cookies. Place another layer of cookies lying flat and then another fifth of mocha cream. Continue this layer pattern until there are 5 layers of each, ending with the mocha cream. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

To unmold, run a sharp knife along the edges and remover the ring. Sprinkle with shaved chocolate and serve cold.

Recipe from Food Network

 

 

Dump Cakes

Memorial Day Weekend is upon us- the unofficial start of the summer – and with the official start right around the corner and the inevitable warmer temperatures, you may be looking for desserts that will satisfy your sweet tooth but won’t take too long to put together and don’t require a slew of ingredients. If so, today I have the recipe for you… A Dump Cake! And trust me, it tastes a whole lot better than the images the name may conjure up for you.

I wish I could say that I came up with this genius idea of a dessert myself, but the credit goes to Pioneer Woman: Ree Drummond. Warning… If you are adverse to box cake mix, can pie filling / canned fruit and butter stop reading now and deprive yourself of the opportunity to make something super simple and delicious. Hey, you have standards to keep. And yes, it only takes those three ingredients to make this cake.

To begin, in a 9×13-inch baking dish pour out a can of cherry pie filling and a can of crushed pineapple (okay, this version of the cake requires four ingredients, but, you could easily omit the pineapple.) Mix the two together well.

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Next, evenly pour the cake mix over the fruit… Make sure you get the corners.

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And finally, top it with a stick and a half of unsalted butter sliced into tablespoons, making sure to space the butter evenly over the cake.

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Bake it in a preheated 350 F oven for 45 minutes – 1 hour; until the top is browned and the fruit filling is bubbling.

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Let it cool for a few minutes before digging in. Enjoy slightly warmed with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream or a dollop or two of whipped cream.

This cake was so delicious that I soon made another one along with a peach version.

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Dump Cake

Ingredients:

Cherry and Pineapple

1 21oz. can cherry pie filling

1 20oz. can crushed pineapple

1 box white cake mix

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, sliced

 

Peach

1 29oz. can sliced peaches in syrup

1 box yellow cake mix

12 tablespoon unsalted butter, sliced

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Pour fruit into a 9×13-inch baking dish. For the cherry and pineapple version mix both fruits together well.

Top evenly with the cake mix, making sure to get the corners.

Space the butter evenly over the cake and bake in the oven for 45 minutes – 1 hour, until the top is browned and the fruit is bubbling.

Let it cool for a few minutes before slicing so the cake can “set.”

Enjoy with ice cream, whipped cream or on its own.

Recipe from Food Network

 

Mixed Berry Galette

The unofficial end of summer is upon us… Labor Day. While the day temps feel like summer the drop in the evening temps definitely signal the arrival of Fall is imminent, kids are heading back to school and everywhere you look there is something flavored pumpkin. I am not complaining though… Fall is by far my favorite of the four seasons. I love the crispness in the air, apple picking, the leaves changing colors and the return of scarf season. If you didn’t know, I love scarves!!! But before all that fun begins I have one last summer themed dessert… A Mixed Berry Galette. While you can get berries – blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, etc. – anytime of the year, summer is when they are at their peak.

Just look at how vibrant and delicious these berries look…

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While you could make your dough from scratch, I opted to go the easier and quicker route by using a puff pastry sheet. After thawing the sheet out I rolled it on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch square. I then transferred it to a parchment lined cookie sheet and placed it the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.

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Following that I put my berries – which I tossed with corn starch, sugar and salt – in a small mound in the center of the sheet and folded the edges around it. I brushed the edges with an egg wash – an egg beaten with a teaspoon of water – and sprinkled granulated sugar on it.

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After refrigerating it for 15 minutes I the baked it in a 400 F preheated oven for 30 minutes – until the puff pastry was golden brown and the berries were bubbling. Unfortunately my galette opened up a bit while baking.

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That didn’t affect the taste though; once it cooled I cut myself a piece and was quite pleased with how something so quick and simple could turn into something so delicious!

Mixed Berry Galette

Ingredients:

1 frozen puff pastry sheet, thawed

All-purpose flour, for dusting

1 large egg, for brushing the pastry

3 cups mixed berries – strawberries, blueberries, blackberries

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/2 cup granulated sugar*, plus more for sprinkling the puff pastry

1/4 teaspoon salt

*If you would like your galette on the sweeter side add a tablespoon or two more sugar.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll out the puff pastry into a 12-inch square on a lightly floured surface. Transfer the sheet to the prepared baking sheet and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Make the filling by tossing the berries with the cornstarch, sugar and salt.

Place the fruit in the center of the puff pastry in a small mound and fold the edges of the sheet over the fruit, overlapping the sheet as you fold.

Brush the pastry with an egg wash – the egg lightly beaten with a teaspoon of water – and then sprinkle with granulated sugar. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes, until firm.

Bake until the edges are golden brown and the fruit is bubbling, about 30 – 35 minutes.

Sweet Corn Panna Cotta with Blueberry Compote

I recently signed up for Food & Wine Magazine’s Daily email where I get one sensational (their words not mine) recipe emailed to me every day. I usually glance at the recipe and then delete the email, not because the dish sounds bad, but because I know I will never make it. A week or two ago I got one recipe that I knew I wanted to try… A Sweet Corn Panna Cotta with Fresh Blueberry Compote. I had panna cotta for dessert at a restaurant a few years ago and instantly loved it; granted that one was a Mango Panna Cotta with a Passion Fruit Sauce. I never attempted to make it myself because I thought that it would be difficult – the one recipe I came across was a bit intimidating but once I saw this one I knew I could handle it.

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I began my shucking two ears of corn and then used a corn zipper to remove the kernels and boiled them for about 15 minutes until they were tender.

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Following that I rinsed the kernels in cold water and then transferred them into the bowl of my food processor.

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Meanwhile I sprinkled 1 1/2 teaspoons of unflavored gelatin powder over 1/4 cup of whole milk, which I let stand for 5 minutes.

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In a small saucepan I combined whole milk, heavy cream, salt, granulated sugar, and dark brown sugar and brought it to a simmer over medium heat whisking it to dissolve the sugars.

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I then poured the hot milk mixture into the bowl with the gelatin mixture and stirred it until the gelatin dissolved.

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I then poured the mixture over the corn in the food processor.

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I pureed the corn and milk mixture until it was smooth and then strained it through a sieve pressing on the solids to get all of the liquid out and then discarded the solids.

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I strained the mixture once again through the sieve and then placed the bowl in an ice bath until it was cool, stirring it occasionally.

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And finally I divided the mixture into four 8-ounce ramekins, covered them and placed them in the refrigerator overnight so they could set. In all honesty, I had my doubts that I made the panna cotta correctly because it was so watery when I poured it into the ramekins. I checked one of them an hour or so after refrigerating it to make sure it was solidifying and I am happy to say I had made them correctly!

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While the panna cotta was “baking” in the fridge I made the Blueberry Compote which couldn’t have been simpler. I combined blueberries with sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and kosher salt and mixed it until the sugar was dissolved and then let it stand for a bit (at least 30 minutes), stirring it occasionally.

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The set panna cotta…

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And topped with the Blueberry Compote.

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This was absolutely delicious! The panna cotta was the perfect texture, silky and smooth, and the corn flavor was just perfect without being too sweet or having too much of a “vegetable” taste, for those of you who aren’t keen on eating your veggies.

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Sweet Corn Panna Cotta with Fresh Blueberry Compote

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

Panna Cotta

2 ears of corn, husked

1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin

3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon whole milk

1 cup plus 2 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream

1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

3 tablespoons dark brown sugar

Blueberry Compote

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Pinch of kosher salt

1 1/2 cups blueberries

Directions: 

1. Make the Panna Cotta: In a medium pot fitted with a steamer basket, steam the corn until tender, 15 minutes. Let cool, then cut the kernels from the cobs (you should have 1 1/2 cups); discard the cobs. Transfer the kernels to a blender.*

2. Meanwhile, in a heatproof medium bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 1/4 cup of the milk. Let stand for 5 minutes.

3. In a small skillet, combine the remaining 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon of milk with the cream, salt and both sugars and bring to a bare simmer, whisking to dissolve the sugars. Scrape the hot milk into the gelatin and stir until the gelatin dissolves. Pour the mixture into the blender over the corn and puree until smooth.

4. Strain the puree through a sieve into a large bowl, pressing on the solids; discard the solids. Strain again without pressing; discard any solids in the sieve. Set the panna cotta in an ice bath until cool, stirring occasionally. Scrape the panna cotta into four 8-ounce ramekins. Cover and refrigerate overnight until firm.

5. Make the Blueberry Compote: In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix until the sugar is dissolved. Let stand for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve the panna cotta in the ramekins with the compote.

*I opted to remove the kernels from the cobs beforehand and boiled the corn for about 15 minutes and then drained it while running them under cold water to cool them. And instead of using a blender, I used a food processor.