White Chocolate Panna Cotta with Champagne Spiked Coulis

This toast-worthy dessert is a wonderful ending to Christmas or New Year's Eve dinner. Tart champagne-spiked red berry coulis is the perfect foil for ultra-rich and creamy white chocolate panna cotta. 

White Chocolate Panna Cotta with Champagne Spiked Coulis

I've often talked about my love of holiday traditions here, and obviously most are food related. I've noticed a new one has developed quite accidentally: I love to ring in the New Year with panna cotta. It's so easy to make and even easier to dress up with a delicious spirit. It's a little bit fancy and looks beautiful in stemware or little dessert cups.

White Chocolate Panna Cotta with Champagne Spiked Coulis

The berry coulis was inspired by my mom's Christmas jam (someday I'll post the recipe here). It's a mixture of strawberries and cranberries which makes a balanced sweet-tart sauce. It couldn't be more perfect with creamy, luxurious, white chocolate panna cotta.

I used an old pastry school trick to layer this dessert. Small cups are balanced at an angle on an empty egg crate and then panna cotta is poured into the glasses. After a chill, the glasses are turned upright and the coulis is poured in. This makes a dynamic duo of color and flavor.

White Chocolate Panna Cotta with Champagne Spiked Coulis
White Chocolate Panna Cotta with Champagne Spiked Coulis

My sprinkle cabinet will never be without these tiny gold stars. They add a touch of magic and sparkle on top of the deep red coulis. 

White Chocolate Panna Cotta with Champagne Spiked Coulis

Most panna cottas are incredibly rich, and this one is no exception! That's why I like to keep the serving size small. The little dessert cups I used can be found here. They are just the right size for this 50/50 cream and coulis confection.

I'm so ready for the New Year, but I've had such fun blogging for the past 24 consecutive days. Each year I always wonder if it's an achievable goal, and for five years now it has been my December priority. It's also been a wonderful distraction from the heaviness this year has brought us. But Christmas is tomorrow! Joy cometh in the morning. I wish all of you the very best health and happiness now and in the New Year, and I hope you get to eat your favorite things

Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays. Truly.

White Chocolate Panna Cotta with Champagne-Spiked Coulis
Yields 8 servings (about 4 oz. each)

White chocolate panna cotta
1 envelope (.25 oz.) unflavored powdered gelatin
2 cups half-and-half or whole milk
4 oz. (1 bar) white chocolate
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Red berry coulis
12 oz. fresh or frozen strawberries, thawed
6 oz. fresh or frozen cranberries, thawed
1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
1 cup champagne or prosecco

For the panna cotta: In a saucepan, sprinkle the gelatin over 1 cup of the half and half. Let stand 2 minutes. Place the saucepan over medium heat and cook stirring constantly until gelatin is melted.
Remove from the heat and add the white chocolate. Stir until melted. Whisk in the remaining 1 cup of half and half, condensed milk and vanilla.

For the angled presentation (pictured) balance 4 oz. clear dessert glasses in an empty egg crate at an angle. Pour the panna cotta into the glasses until the liquid nearly reaches to top of the glass. Transfer to the refrigerator to set, about 4 hours or overnight.

For the coulis: In a saucepan, combine the strawberries, cranberries, sugar, and champagne. Set over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Stir until the sugar is melted and cook until mixture thickens slightly. Mixture is ready when all of the cranberries are burst (you can help this process along by pressing the berries against the side of the saucepan with a spatula). Remove from the heat and puree using an emulsion blender, or let cool 10 minutes before pureeing in a blender.

Place a sieve over a bowl and pour the berry mixture through to remove seeds. Use a rubber spatula to effectively press the puree through the sieve. Let cool completely at room temperature, 30-45 minutes. Stand panna cotta glasses upright and pour in the coulis. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Notes: If using the gold star sprinkles, add them just before serving. They are gelatin-based and will dissolve over time
The sweetness of the coulis can be adjusted if your berries are very tart. Add up to 1/4 cup additional sugar to taste.
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