Panna cotta, cherry balsamic coulis

This is a last minute dessert I came up with after seeing every vendor at the farmer's market selling cherries and scrapping my other idea of pears poached in hibiscus tea. It's a little bit of an intermediate dessert - the panna cotta underneath is sweet, but the coulis on top is equal parts sweet and savory/acidic from balsamic vinegar. The coulis also goes very well with roasted beets.

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For 4 servings.

4 fresh cherries, to serve

For the panna cotta:

50g hot water

2g agar agar

295g cream

30g sugar

2g vanilla extract

For the cherry balsamic coulis:

290g cherries, pitted/halved (pitted weight)

75g water

30g balsamic vinegar

3g kosher salt

7g sugar

Xanthan gum


  1. 1 day in advance, prepare the panna cotta: mix the agar and hot water in a small pot and whisk to combine.
  2. Place the cream and sugar into a small pot on medium heat and bring to a gentle simmer. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  3. Hydrate the agar: bring the agar/water mixture to a boil for 1 minute. Whisk in to the cream mixture and stir to combine well. Divide the contents of the pot between your serving containers or molds and refrigerate overnight to set.
  4. Prepare the cherry balsamic coulis: place all ingredients but the xanthan gum into a pot and bring to a boil. Cook until the cherries are very soft, about 5-7 minutes.
  5. Taste and adjust seasoning - add more acid or sugar if necessary, depending on the taste of your cherries.
  6. Transfer contents of the pot to a blender, blend extremely thoroughly until smooth.
  7. Strain, weigh, and measure 0.6% xanthan gum. Transfer back to the blender and shear in the xanthan. Strain and reserve in the refrigerator until needed.
  8. To serve: top the set panna cotta with a spoonful or two of the cherry balsamic coulis and tilt the bowl to spread evenly over the panna cotta. Top with a fresh cherry and serve.

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