Panna cotta is a light, silky Italian custard. Its delicate, sweet flavor is a blank slate that showcases Felino Samson's spirited cooking style. He emphasizes harmonic but bold flavors with roasted stone fruit and blue cheese.
2 cups pear nectar
3 (1/4-ounce) envelopes unflavored gelatin
2 cups whole milk
1 cup pitted sweet cherries
1/4 cup tawny port or other sweet red wine
3 tablespoons honey
4 plums, each cut into 4 wedges (about 1 pound)
3 peaches, each peeled and cut into 6 wedges (about 1 pound)
1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled Vermont or other blue cheese
How to Make It
Strain pear nectar through a fine sieve over a small bowl, and discard solids. Sprinkle gelatin over strained pear nectar, and let stand 1 minute.
Place milk in a medium saucepan; stir in gelatin mixture. Cook over medium-low heat until gelatin dissolves, stirring constantly. Pour evenly into 8 (4-ounce) ramekins or muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Chill 2 hours or until set.
Preheat oven to 400°.
Combine cherries and the next 4 ingredients (cherries through peaches) in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray, tossing to coat. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until tender, stirring once. Cool.
Loosen edges of panna cottas with a knife or rubber spatula. Place a dessert plate, upside down, on top of each ramekin; invert onto plates. Spoon about 1/2 cup roasted fruit around each panna cotta. Sprinkle each serving with 2 tablespoons cheese.
If you don't want to use tawny port or sweet red wine in the fruit mixture, you can use red grape juice instead.