Panna Cotta with Vin Santo-Soaked Figs
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 large pieces orange zest strips, about 3-inches long
- 1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
- 1/4 cup Vin Santo, or other sweet dessert wine, such as Sauternes, or Muscat
- 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
- 2 cups quartered and stemmed fresh figs
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup honey
- Cocoa powder, garnish
In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, milk, sugar, and zest. Scrape the vanilla seeds into the pan and add the vanilla bean. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Remove the orange peel and vanilla pods from the saucepan and discard. Return to the heat and bring to a simmer.
In a small saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the wine over low heat. Remove from the heat. Sprinkle the gelatin into the wine and stir to dissolve. Let sit for 5 minutes. In a bowl, toss the figs with the remaining 2 tablespoons of wine and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour, stirring once.
Remove the cream mixture from the heat and add the gelatin mixture, whisking until well blended. Divide evenly among 8 (1/2-cup) ramekins or molds.
Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until well chilled, at least 4 hours, or overnight. To serve, dip the bottoms of the cups in warm water to loosen. Run a thin knife around the edge and invert the cups onto dessert plates, shaking to release the custards. Decoratively arrange figs around each panna cotta and drizzle with honey, to taste. Sprinkle lightly with cocoa powder and serve immediately.
Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2002