Strawberry Panna Cotta
- 1 quart fresh local strawberries hulled and sliced
- 1 cup + 2 tbsp sugar divided
- ¼ cup Grand Marnier
- ¼ cup cool water
- 2 tsp gelatin
- 1¼ cups heavy cream
- 1¼ cups milk or buttermilk up to preference
- 2 egg whites
- ½ cup pistachio meats blended to powder
- ¼ cup Queen Bee (or other local) honey
- Combine strawberries, ½ cup sugar and Grand Marnier in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over low heat, and cook gently until syrupy, about 30 minutes. Blend smooth and strain. This syrup may be made ahead and chilled for up to a week.
- Put water in a small bowl and sprinkle over the gelatin. Allow to stand 10 minutes while you combine the cream, milk or buttermilk, and ½ cup sugar in a saucepan. Bring the cream mixture to a simmer, and stir until sugar is dissolved. Whisk the softened gelatin mixture into the cream mixture, followed by the strawberry syrup.
- Pour the panna cotta into a mold or several small molds. Chill undisturbed for at least 8 hours.
- For the meringue, preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Beat the egg whites until uniformly white and foamy with a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Gradually add 2 tablespoons sugar, and continue beating until whites are stiff and glossy. Fold in half of the pistachio powder. Spread the mixture out to about a ½-inch layer, as smooth and level as possible, onto a sheet pan lined with a piece of baking parchment. (Don’t worry about making it any particular shape.) Bake until very dry, crisp, and light, about an hour. If it starts to brown, turn the heat down to 225 degrees. Let the meringue cool thoroughly, off the pan, on a rack; break into attractive shards.
- About 30 minutes before you wish to serve, pull the panna cotta from the fridge to soften up a bit. To unmold, turn onto plate(s), warming up the mold with your hands or a hot towel to make the release easy. Drizzle with honey, sprinkle with remaining pistachio powder, jab with a meringue shard, and serve.