Panna Cotta is traditional Italian dessert from northern Italy, but what is more interesting it is that it is the easiest dessert to make on earth…oh it even rhymes. Kenya is the world capital and the biggest exporter of roses and the magnificent colors and the magic aroma of the queen of flowers are enchanting. While in East Africa every woman should indulge in the pleasure of always having roses at home. This recipe was inspired by the arrival of summer (yes, this is the southern hemisphere) and the scent and beauty of African flowers.
2 cups whole milk
2 cups whipping cream
1 1/2 Tbs powdered gelatin
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2 drops of red food coloring
canola or sunflower oil for greasing the molds
For rose syrup:
1 cup sugar
5 – 6 Tbs water
3 tsp rose water
6 pink or red rose petals
Brush with oil 8 ramekins or tea cups.
Make the Panna Cotta: Combine the milk and gelatin in a medium sauce pan and put a side for 10 minutes. Heat the milk over medium heat until the gelatin dissolves, don’t let it boil.
Add the cream and the sugar and heat until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is hot but not boiling. Stir in the vanilla extract and the red food coloring. Transfer to a large measuring cup and pour the mixture into the ramekins or tea cups.
Chill for at least 5 hours or overnight.
Make the syrup: In a medium sauce pan combine the sugar and the rose petals and mix well with a wooden spoon to release the aroma and the color of the roses. Add the water and heat over gentle fire until you have smooth, light pink sugar syrup. Do not stir the syrup while coking it but swirl the pan instead. Stirring can cause the sugar to crystallize. Once you have achieved the right consistency, add the rose water, transfer to a glass jar and let cool completely.
Unmold: Run the blade of a thin knife around the walls of the ramekins and dip them in hot water for a few seconds, then place a dessert plate over the ramekins and flip to unmould.
Serve: Gently spoon the rose syrup around the Panna Cotta and decorate with rose petals and silver dragees.
Make it ahead: This dessert is ideal for entertaining because both the syrup and the Panna Cotta can be prepared and kept refrigerated for up to 3 day before serving.