Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Yum, Pudding...

Can you tell that school is finished for the semester? What little spare time I have during this holiday season is being spent participating in these fun blogging events. Each month, I've wished to join in, but with studying and work, the time would fly by, and I'd being reading about the next month's challenge. This month, once my finals were out of the way, I checked out all the December events, made my list, and have been busy cooking and baking.

SHF #38 - The proof is in the Pudding!

This month, Sugar High Fridays is being hosted by Zorra of 1x umrΓΌhren bitte. Now, I love puddings of all kinds, so I was very excited to read that the December challenge was none other than pudding, in all its myriad varieties. But which to choose? Since I'm on a panna cotta kick lately, I decided to try out another flavor combination. This time it is Gingerbread Spice Panna Cotta with Lemon Curd Sauce from Panna Cotta by Camilla V. Saulsbury. (The lemon curd recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living -- for some reason I had an excess of egg yolks this month!)

Gingerbread Spice Panna Cotta

1/4 cup orange juice (preferably fresh squeezed)
2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup dark molasses (not blackstrap)
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 1/4 cups sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Lemon Curd Sauce (see below)

Place orange juice in a small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over juice. Let stand 5 minutes to soften gelatin.

In a medium saucepan combine the cream, molasses and brown sugar. Heat over medium heat until hot but not boiling. Add gelatin mixture and stir until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat. Whisk in the ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom, sour cream, and vanilla until blended and smooth.

Ladle or pour mixture into 8 3/4-cup custard cups, ramekins, or small molds. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and chill 4 hours or up to overnight.

To serve, immerse bottom half of each ramekin or custard cup in hot water about 15 seconds. Run a clean small knife around edge to loosen. Invert each onto a plate. Spoon lemon curd sauce around each panna cotta and serve.

Makes 8 servings.

Lemon Curd

3 large egg yolks
Zest of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
6 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces

Combine yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar in a small saucepan. Whisk to combine. Set over medium heat, and stir constantly with a wooden spoon, making sure to stir sides and bottom of pan. Cook until mixture is thick enough to coat back of wooden spoon, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Remove saucepan from heat. Add the butter, one piece at a time, stirring with the wooden spoon until the consistency is smooth.

Transfer mixture to a medium bowl. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming; wrap tightly. Let cool; refrigerate until firm and chilled, at least 1 hour. Store, refrigerated in an airtight container, up to 2 days.

For sauce, thin the curd with additional lemon juice, whisking until blended and smooth. Spoon around each panna cotta.

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