Chicago pastry chef Gale Gand tops panna cotta with salted caramel.
For panna cotta: Lightly coat twelve 2-ounce demitasse cups, ramekins or other small dessert dishes with cooking spray; set aside. Place the water in a small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over the surface. Let stand for 5 minutes to soften.
In a medium saucepan, combine the whipping cream, coffee beans and sugar. Heat over medium-low heat until the mixture almost comes to boiling. Remove from heat. Add softened gelatin; stir until it dissolves. Let stand for 5 minutes to infuse with the coffee flavor.
Place the chocolate in a medium mixing bowl. Strain the hot cream mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into the chocolate. Gently whisk to melt the chocolate. Whisk in sour cream until smooth. Pour into prepared cups. Chill in the refrigerator until the panna cotta is firm, at least 2 hours.*
To serve, top each panna cotta with a layer of Fleur de Sel Caramel. Sprinkle a little additional fleur de sel on top, if you like. Makes 12 (2-ounce) servings.
The panna cotta can be made up to 2 days ahead and kept in the refrigerator.
Leftover Fleur de Sel Caramel can be chilled up to 1 week and served over ice cream or your other favorite dessert.
Cenitar RestaurantsJeffrey Ward1582 Barclay BlvdBuffalo Grove, IL 60089C: 312/217-1969E: firstname.lastname@example.orgGale Gand's recipes
Put sugar in a high-sided medium saucepan. Spoon water down the inside walls of the pan and let it seep into the sugar to soak it. This will take about 1 minute. Draw your finger in a cross through the middle of the sugar to help the water seep in, if needed. Heat the sugar over high heat until the sugar comes to boiling. Continue boiling the sugar, without stirring, until it turns evenly amber in color. Watch closely to prevent burning the sugar. Immediately remove from heat and slowly add whipping cream or heavy cream, stirring gently but carefully with a wooden spoon. (The mixture is extremely hot and will bubble up slightly.) Let the caramel cool before stirring in Fleur de Sel or sea salt. Makes about 1 cup.