I look forward to holiday entertaining all year long, but the stress that sometimes comes with being the hostess with the mostest is very real. That’s why I rely on recipes like panna cotta which you can throw together in minutes and store in the refrigerator until party time. This eggnog version could not be easier because it’s made with your favorite prepared eggnog!
It’s so easy to dress up panna cotta, so when I’m feeling fancy I get out stemmed cordial glasses or these little verrines. I bet many of you already have the perfect stemware for this dessert. Get yourself a beautiful little tray on which to serve these and prepare for oohs and aahs. The presentation looks thoughtful yet effortless.
I made a quick stove-top cranberry sauce topping with fresh cranberries, orange zest and a shot of orange liqueur. The sauce is a tart foil for the sweet eggnog custard. This recipe makes a little more sauce than you’ll need, so after topping the panna cottas be sure to save the leftovers. Serve it as a relish with dinner or spread it on toast!
If you have no time at all for homemade sauce, then you could shortcut this recipe by using canned whole berry cranberry sauce. Just heat it in a saucepan to loosen, and at the end add a shot of Cointreau.
I made sparkling cranberries to garnish the verrines and if you’d like to make a batch, the recipe can be found with my favorite Orange Chiffon Cake. If you’re short on time, you can always skip the sugaring and serve the cranberries fresh.
Panna cotta is rich indeed, and this eggnog version is no exception. I recommend keeping servings on the small side (3-4 oz.each) especially if there’s more than one dessert on the Christmas buffet to enjoy.
Sprigs of rosemary provide a nice touch of evergreen, and incorporating them into a garnish is easy! Skewer a berry all the way through with a toothpick, and then thread a rosemary stem through the hole. Place the assembled berry garnish atop your panna cotta glasses and they are ready to dazzle!
Eggnog Panna Cotta
with Spiked Cranberry Sauce
Yields six 4 oz. servings
Commercially prepared eggnog varieties that are thick and sweet will work best in this recipe. You may omit the orange liqueur and opt for 1/2 teaspoon orange extract.
2 tablespoon cold water
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) powdered gelatin
2 cups (480ml) commercially prepared eggnog
Spiked Cranberry sauce
6 oz. bag fresh cranberries
1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
Zest of one orange
1/4 cup (60ml) orange juice
2 tablespoons orange liqueur (or to taste)
6 fresh or sugared cranberries for garnish
6 fresh rosemary sprigs for garnish
For the panna cotta: Place the cold water in a small condiment cup. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water evenly and let stand until the gelatin is absorbed.
In a small saucepan, heat the eggnog until hot but not boiling. Remove from heat and add the gelatin to the hot eggnog. Stir until the gelatin is dissolved.
Place six 4 oz. dessert glasses on a baking sheet. Pour 1/3 cup of the eggnog mixture into each cup. Transfer the baking sheet with the glasses on it to the refrigerator. Chill for 2 hours.
For the cranberry sauce: Combine the cranberries, sugar, orange zest an orange juice in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. When berries begin to pop, reduce the heat to a simmer. Mash berries with the back of a spatula against the bottom of the pan. Continue to cool until all of the berries are broken down and a jam-like consistency is achieved. Remove from the heat and stir in the orange liqueur. If the mixture is too thick to fall from a spoon, stir in a little water 1 tablespoon at a time until a sauce consistency is achieved. Let cool and then refrigerate until ready to use.
When the panna cotta is firm, spoon the cranberry sauce on top until filled to the brim of the glass. Skewer each cranberry completely through from stem to end using a toothpick. Thread rosemary sprigs through each berry. Balance each garnish across the top of each glass.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.