Pink Peppercorn-Pomegranate Panna Cotta
Why this recipe works: We use pink peppercorns in a number of savory applications, but these peppercorns (not true pepper) are by far the fruitiest and most floral of the varieties, so they take well to dessert. The clean dairy flavor of creamy panna cotta was a lovely canvas for the subtle pungency of pink pepper, which we used to infuse our cream base. To balance the spiciness and richness, we incorporated pomegranate juice into the base, which provided not only complementary fruitiness but also smashing color. A garnish of pomegranate seeds and shaved white chocolate was a rich adornment, while a touch of coarse finishing salt brought all the flavors to life. To serve unmolded, you’ll need six 4- to 5-ounce ramekins. Panna cotta may also be chilled and served in wine glasses. If you’d like to make the panna cotta a day ahead, reduce the amount of gelatin by 1/2 teaspoon and chill the filled ramekins for at least 18 hours or up to 24 hours. You can use your preferred coarse finishing salt in this recipe.
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons pink peppercorns, cracked
- 1 cup pomegranate juice
- 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
- Shaved white chocolate
- Coarse finishing salt
Bring heavy cream and peppercorns to simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and let sit until flavors meld, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, pour pomegranate juice into a clean medium saucepan. Sprinkle surface evenly with gelatin and let sit until gelatin softens, about 5 minutes. Fill a large bowl halfway with ice and water. Set six 4- to 5-ounce ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet.
Heat the juice and gelatin mixture over high heat, stirring constantly until gelatin is dissolved and mixture registers 135 degrees F, 1 to 2 minutes. Off heat, whisk in sugar and salt until dissolved, about 1 minute. Stirring constantly, slowly add the cream mixture. Transfer mixture to the now-empty bowl and set over a prepared ice water bath. Stir the mixture often until slightly thickened and mixture registers 50 degrees F, about 20 minutes. Strain mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a 4-cup liquid measuring cup, then divide evenly among ramekins. Cover all ramekins on a baking sheet with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the panna cottas are just set (mixture should wobble when shaken gently), at least 4 hours or up to 12 hours.
To unmold, run a paring knife around the perimeter of each ramekin. (If the shape of ramekin makes this difficult, quickly dip ramekin into a hot water bath to loosen the panna cotta.) Hold serving plate over the top of each ramekin and invert; set plate on the counter and gently shake ramekin to release the panna cotta. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds, white chocolate shavings, and finishing salt. Serve.
Reprinted with permission from “Spiced: Unlock the Power of Spices to Transform Your Cooking” by America’s Test Kitchen, copyright 2019. Published by America’s Test Kitchen.