Vanilla Panna Cotta with Strawberries and Basil Syrup


Great desert here people! Super easy. just takes a little planning ahead, well worth the effort, seriously elegant feel. Don't be scared by the basil, it really makes it. 



Panna Cotta
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
nonstick vegetable oil spray
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup half and half
1/3 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

Basil Syrup
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
1 cup (packed; about 4 ounces) fresh basil leaves with tender stems plus small sprigs for garnish
16 strawberries, hulled, sliced

Panna Cotta
Place 3 tablespoons water in small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over. Let stand until gelatin softens, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, spray 8x8x2 inch pan with nonstick spray.

Place cream, half and half, and sugar in heavy medium saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Bring to simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat. Discard bean. Add softened gelatin; stir until gelatin dissolves. Transfer to prepared pan. Place panna cotta in refrigerator to cool slightly. Cover and chill until set, about 6 hours.

Basil Syrup
Stir 2 cups of water and 2 cups sugar in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and boil until reduced to 2 cups, about 5 minutes. cover and chill simple syrup until cold, about 2 hours.

Blanch 1 cup basil in large pot of boiling water until wilted, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Drain. Transfer to small bowl of ice water to cool completely. Using hands, squeeze basil to remove as much water as possible. Chop coarsely.

Line strainer with 4 layers of cheesecloth and set strainer over heavy medium bowl. Place simple syrup and basil in blender and puree until only small flecks of basil remain. Strain through prepared strainer.

Cut panna cotta into 5 equal strips, then make 5 crosswise cuts, forming 25 squares. using spatula, transfer 3 panna cotta squares, bottom side up (to show vanilla bean flecks), to each plate. Garnish with sliced strawberries and basil sprigs. Drizzle with basil syrup.

Recommended Drink - Muscat