Grapes! Grapes! Grapes! Do you love grapes? I really enjoy them. They are so sweet and juicy, especially muscat grapes. These gems are seedless with a sweet and floral taste. They are my favorite and I bought them whenever they are in season. If your local stores don’t carry them, you can find them from Melissa’s Produce.
When it comes to grapes, there is one person who loves them probably more than you and I. That is baby Morris of my high school friends, Iris and Tony. They were in Los Angeles last week to visit. We spent a lot of time together at the zoo, pier, and park. Whenever we were out, Iris and Tony always carried a bag of grapes and a bread roll. When Morris was hungry, they would take out the bag of grapes. You can see Morris’ eyes lit up every time. Little Morris got a small bunch of grapes and he would pull them apart one by one. He shoved the grapes in his mouth and showed you the most satisfying smile. That was one of the cutest things ever! And it sure made everyone’s day! How can you not love this guy?
So now, I bet you want some grapes! How about upgrading to a grape dessert? To highlight these muscato grapes from Melissa’s Produce, I used them two ways in this dessert. First is a syrup. To make the sweet grape syrup, I cooked down a bunch of fresh muscat grapes, strained and reduced. It is kind of like grape jam in liquid form. YUM! Not only it is awesome over panna cotta, it is excellent over vanilla ice cream, pancakes and waffles too! The second way is roasted grapes. Roasting the grapes concentrate the flavors. They were packed with flavors and gave the panna cotta a little texture and bites. With the creamy and lemony panna cotta, this dessert is dinner party-worthy. Gorgeous colors and so delicious! Make all the components ahead and quickly assemble before serving. Your guests will sure be impressed!
Lemon Panna Cotta with Grapes Two Ways
Lemon Panna Cotta:
– 3 cups heavy cream
– ½ cup sugar
– 1 (0.25-ounce) package unflavored gelatin
– 1½ teaspoons lemon zest (finely grated)(about 1½ lemon)
– 2 tablespoons lemon juice
– 1½ pounds Red Muscato Grapes (rinsed)
– ½ teaspoon lemon zest
– 2½ tablespoons lemon juice
– pinch of salt
– ½ teaspoon honey
– ½ pound Red Muscato Grapes (rinsed)
- Start with the panna cotta by picking 8 1/3-cup glass cups, containers or silicone molds. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, place lemon juice and sprinkle the gelatin powder over evenly. Let stand for 15 minutes until soften.
- In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, bring the heavy cream, sugar, lemon zest to a simmer (not a boil). Whisk in the gelatin until dissolved. Strain the mixture into a large glass measuring cup or a medium bowl. Divide the mixture among the prepared containers. Chill the panna cotta uncovered in the fridge until set, at least 4 hours. Cover with plastic wrap once cooled.
- For the coulis, in a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the grapes, lemon zest, lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Cook for about 45 minutes or until the grapes are very soft and broken apart, stirring occasionally. Strain through a fine mesh sieve to a medium bowl. Discard the skins and flesh. Return the juice back to the saucepan. Cook the coulis over medium heat for another 5 minutes. Add honey and cook until slightly thicken, about 3 more minutes. Cool and transfer to an airtight container. Keep in the fridge until ready to use.
- For the roasted grapes, preheat the oven to 375˚F (190˚C). In a medium baking pan, add the grapes and bake for 25 – 30 minutes. Remove from heat. Cool and transfer to an airtight container. Keep in the fridge until ready to use.
- To assemble, remove the panna cotta from mold if needed. Top the panna cotta with about 2 teaspoons of grape coulis and a few roasted grapes. Serve.
- The sweetness of the coulis may need to be adjusted depends on what grapes you use and how sweet they are. Adjust the sweetness after straining with either more honey or sugar.
- For storage, store everything separately and assemble just before serving. Keep for up to 2 – 3 days.
(Lemon Panna Cotta Adapted from Allrecipes)