Ever since I started thinking about St. Patrick’s Day recipes I’ve had Bailey’s Irish Cream on my mind. One of the recipes I love to make is panna cotta, an Italian custard made with cream and gelatin. It’s versatile, delicious and oh-so-easy. This recipe for Bailey’s Irish Cream panna cotta with espresso caramel is the very satisfying result of all my brain storming. It’s a little Irish, a lot delicious and sophisticated to boot. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
Bailey’s Irish cream isn’t something we keep in the house; in fact this is the first bottle I ever purchased. It’s not something I order at a bar either. Still, I have nostalgia for the drink. My first experience with Bailey’s Irish cream was something to remember. I was 14 years old and staying at my grandmother’s home in St. Louis, Missouri for New Year’s Eve. As the clock ticked toward the New Year, she brought out a bottle of Bailey’s Irish cream with a flourish, along with two little shot glasses.
I was sitting in one of those big reclining swivel chairs when she handed me a glass and poured a little “nip” as she called it. The Bailey’s was strong and sweet and I had to shut my eyes and swallow it quickly just like cough medicine. I swiveled in my chair to hide my scrunched-up face as I swallowed it, rotating back into grandmother’s view with an empty glass. She was impressed with my drinking skills. I just wanted to swallow the stuff. She poured me another, and then another. That was the first time I was tipsy.
Grandmother would love this Bailey’s Irish Cream panna cotta. It’s smooth and creamy with just a little kick from the liquor. The salted espresso caramel sauce goes perfectly, with flavors reminiscent of tiramisu. This recipe is the perfec–elegant–way to end a St. Patrick’s Day meal. You can pour the panna cotta into little shot glasses, wineglasses or beer glasses to serve. You can harden the custard in a ramekin and turn them out onto plates, with the caramel sauce drizzled on top.
However you presented this dessert, it’s a delicious, boozy way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day—or any old day. One bonus I have to mention: This recipe makes enough of this crazy-yummy espresso caramel for an extra cup to save. Pour it in a little jar and drizzle it on ice cream or cheesecake or just eat it with a spoon.
This recipe wraps up my collection of St. Patrick’s Day recipes for 2014. Please check out my other recipes for some inspiration. I wish you and your family a happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Yield: 8 servings + extra sauce
Heat the cream and sugar in a heavy saucepan until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in vanilla extract.
-If you are using a vanilla bean, scrape the seeds into the cream and drop in the vanilla pod. Let infuse for 30 minutes and then remove the bean. Reheat to continue..
-Lightly oil custard ramekins with a neutral tasting oil if you plan to turn out the custard onto plates.
In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water. Let sit for 10 minutes to allow it to "bloom".
Add the gelatin to the hot cream mixture and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Add the Bailey's Irish Cream
Pour the custard mixture into glasses or ramekins, dividing evenly. Chill until firm, about four hours.
In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of water and espresso powder.
In a heavy saucepan over low heat, stir remaining 6 tablespoons of water and sugar until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and boil sugar mixture about 8 minutes, swirling the caramel mixture until darker and bubbly.
Remove saucepan from heat. Add cream, butter, salt and coffee mixture to the caramel.
Return to heat. Boil the mixture, whisking constantly until smooth and thickened. Pour over chilled panna cotta and save remaining sauce in a canning jar for up to 2 weeks.
I’m revisiting panna cotta for the Fall season with this festive nutmeg & yogurt panna cotta with cranberry coulis. I love panna cotta because it is so light. It’s easy to make too. It requires only a few minutes to prepare and the yogurt in this dish is barely heated, keeping its probiotic benefits. I’ve been buying organic yogurt from a local farm that is made with full cream, unpasteurized milk. This stuff is amazingly good, so I had to find a great dessert to use it in. Organic plain Greek yogurt is a good alternative. It’s creamier than regular yogurt and has much more flavor.
This light and tangy dessert is simple to make with dazzling results. Perfect for a Thanksgiving, Christmas (or any holiday) feast, you can make the custard and coulis ahead of time. Pour the panna cotta into dessert glasses and top with the bright red sauce or flip them out onto plates. The nutmeg in the panna cotta is reminiscent of eggnog without the heavy “egginess”, and the cranberry sauce adds the perfect amount of acidity. You’ll find yourself gobbling it up faster than you realize.
I wish I had thought to pour these into little dessert glasses to show you, but these photos will have to do! I’ll add some more when I make this recipe again. Enjoy!
Serving Size: 6 servings
Yogurt panna cotta recipe adapted from Kate Neumann’s Greek yogurt panna cotta with honey-glazed apricots
Using a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and quickly mix. Let it bloom for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the cream, sugar, vanilla extract and nutmeg in a small saucepan until simmering. Remove the pan from the heat and add the gelatin mixture, stirring until it melts.
Whisk the yogurt in a bowl until completely smooth. Add the cream mixture to the yogurt gradually until combined. Pour into small ramekins or serving glass until set, about 3 hours.
In a saucepan, combine cranberries, sugar, orange zest, orange juice, apple, cinnamon stick and water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes, until the cranberries pop and the apple is soft. Remove cinnamon stick.
Using a wire mesh sieve or strainer, press the sauce through, using the back of a spoon. Discard the remaining solid pieces. Chill before serving.
Panna cotta looks hard to make, but it’s really just a gelatin. Unlike traditional custards and puddings, there’s no need to work with egg yolks because most panna cotta recipes do not contain eggs. Another beautiful thing about panna cotta is you can flavor it any way you like. This recipe for lavender, brown sugar panna cotta with lemon sauce is perfectly sweet and refreshing for hot summer days.
When I lived in Boston, I used to visit this little Italian restaurant called Bella Verona. It was a cozy little place, which always had a chalkboard full of daily specials. I had their panna cotta for dessert every time I ate there. It was light and creamy and sat on a bed of warm wild Maine blueberries. For this recipe, I wanted to use some of my Green Acres culinary lavender I bought when I visited Atascadero, CA. Lavender grows all over California, but you don’t see it in South Florida very much. You can use fresh lavender instead; just don’t add too much or it may taste bitter.
Lavender and lemon are a classic combination. The herbal flavor of the lavender works wonderfully with cream, and the tart sweetness of the lemon makes the perfect accent. I also used brown sugar instead of white because I love the touch of molasses flavor. I use it in whipped creams and frosting too. You won’t get perfectly white results, but it’s worth it for the extra flavor. Substitute white sugar if you prefer. To garnish this dish, try making some candied lemon peel. It’s easy to do and you can save the extra for later.
Yield: 4 servings
Recipe adapted from Vanilla Panna Cotta , by Michael Symon for Food Network Magazine
Heat the cream and sugar in a heavy saucepan over low heat. Split the vanilla bean down the center with a knife and scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds and the vanilla pod to the warm cream. Add the dried lavender and heat until the mixture comes to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
While the cream is heating, “bloom” the gelatin in the cold milk in a small bowl for 10 minutes.
Pour the cream mixture through a fine mesh strainer to remove the lavender and vanilla pod and return to the pan.
Stir the gelatin mixture into the hot cream and incorporate the mascarpone (or yogurt). Allow to cool.
Pour into individual ramekins, cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 6 hours. To remove from the ramekins, dip them ¾ of the way up into hot water and invert onto a serving dish.
Total Time: 7 minutes
Recipe for Lemon Sauce by Diana Rattray
In a small saucepan, mix egg, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest over low heat. Stir constantly until thick and the sauce coats the back of the spoon. Be careful not to overheat as the egg will curdle. Add butter at end and stir to combine.