I have made a lot of panna cotta in my life. It is quick and easy to make, good any time of year, and you can dress it up or down depending on your mood. Traditionally panna cotta is poured into a ramekin or custard cup, and then released upside down onto a dessert plate. Often it is served with a sauce and fruit.
I think it’s more elegant served in a glass of some sort. A martini glass is fancy, but any glass will do. I sometimes use tiny votive holders for the cuteness factor, and because the dessert is so rich.
I’ve almost always made vanilla bean panna cotta and served it with the most beautiful and ripest fruit available. It is the little black dress of desserts, changing its personality depending on the season.This time I thought about the fruit first. Figs and plums were abundant in the produce aisles, and their deep purples and vibrant greens were irresistible.
But it is the mystery of their interior that really excites me. You can’t know until you slice them open whether the inside of an Adriatic fig will be vibrant red or mahogany. The plums could be red, purple or yellow.
Vanilla would have been good with these fruits, but I thought green tea might be a more interesting combination. Green tea was nice, but it was too subtle. Next I tried jasmine tea. Jasmine tea is green tea that is layered with jasmine blossoms until the tea is full of the scent of the flowers. I used loose leaf Jasmine Yin Hao, and it was ambrosial. (You can use tea bags instead, but I recommend loose leaf tea for the best flavor.) To add color and a bit of tartness, I made plum sauce to pool on the panna cotta, and then sliced the figs and plums to arrange on top.