Egg Nog Panna Cotta With Cherry Compote 6.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Dec 25, 2013

Panna cotta means cooked cream in Italian. It is usually not made with eggs, relying only on gelatin to create a custardlike texture once the mixture cools and sets in the refrigerator. This version, made with tempered egg yolks, more closely resembles a true custard, except it's thickened by gelatin instead of a hot-water bath in the oven.

At Ris, executive pastry chef Beverly Bates serves this with a crystallized ginger crumble and a scoop of milk chocolate semifreddo as well. She prefers Morello cherries for the compote, which are available in jars at Trader Joe's.

You'll need six 4-ounce ramekins or cups.

Make Ahead: The panna cotta can be refrigerated for at least 6 hours and up to overnight. The compote can be made several days in advance and refrigerated.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 6 servings

  • For the panna cotta
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • For the compote
  • 2 cups fresh, jarred or frozen pitted morello cherries (tart cherries)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


For the panna cotta: Pour the bourbon into a small bowl; sprinkle the gelatin on top. Let it sit for 3 minutes so the gelatin blooms and thickens the mixture.

Whisk the egg yolks in a large bowl for 3 or 4 minutes while you slowly add the brown sugar, until the mixture is lightened in color and fluffy.

Combine the milk, the vanilla bean and its scrapings, the cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large saucepan over medium heat; cook for about 5 minutes, stirring, until the mixture is steaming but has not come to a boil. Whisk the hot milk mixture into the egg yolk-sugar mixture until thoroughly incorporated. Pour back into the same saucepan over medium heat; cook for 4 minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture becomes thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Do not let the mixture come to a boil, or it will curdle. Remove from the heat.

Stir in the bourbon-gelatin mixture until completely dissolved, then stir in the cream. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a 4-cup measuring cup or container with a pour spout, using a spatula to press through as much of the mixture as possible.

Line up the ramekins or cups. Divide the mixture evenly among them. Cover (not directly on the surface) and refrigerate for at least 6 hours and up to overnight.

For the compote: Combine the cherries, granulated sugar, salt, cinnamon, cornstarch and vanilla extract in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan until the fruit is well coated. Place over medium heat; once the mixture starts bubbling, cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly, to form a compote. Transfer to a heatproof container; cool, then cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

If you'd like to serve the panna cotta without the ramekin or cup, immerse each one (just to below the rims) in hot water for 15 to 20 seconds, then invert onto a dessert plate. Spoon the compote on top (in the ramekins or cups) or over the top and sides (on the dessert plates).

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Recipe Source

From Beverly Bates, executive pastry chef at Ris in the District.

Tested by Mary Pat Flaherty.

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