This easy recipe for Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Blackberry Sauce is an Irish dessert that is perfect for St. Patrick’s day. The buttermilk custards are like little islands surrounded by a sea of sweet blackberry sauce that has a touch of anise flavor.
Our DIL, Gillian, was born and raised in Ireland and she tells me the wild and thorny blackberry brambles flourish in Ireland. But in spite of their prickly thorns, these brambles produce the most wonderfully sweet blackberries.
This recipe could also be called Blackberry Soup with Buttermilk Custard. It is just one of the desserts that take advantage of the sweet, juicy blackberries that are so abundant in Ireland.
Buttermilk panna cotta or custard is created without eggs and it is not unlike the pannacotta that is so popular in Italy. A mixture of sweetened buttermilk and cream is cooked, gelatin is added which thickens the custards and gives these desserts the wiggly-jiggly texture that is so delicious.
The creamy mixture is poured into individual molds and chilled until firm transforming them into cool, silky smooth deliciousness.
The blackberry ‘soup’ is actually what I would call a sauce. It is made with fresh blackberries cooked with a little sugar, star anise and red wine. If fresh blackberries are not available, the frozen berries will work just as well.
I used a fruity Blackberry-Cabernet wine that I appropriated from Don’s stash, hopefully he will not even miss it. (Dream on, Pat)
The blackberries, wine and sugar are simmered with a couple star anise that adds a very slight flavor that compliments the sauce perfectly. And….if you are so inclined, add a shot of blackberry liqueur.
This is an easy, make-ahead dessert that is very adaptable by using different berries or fruits. I can just imagine the variety of delicious creations I could put together. 🙂
This recipe has been adapted from The Complete Irish Pub Cookbook.
For the custard
- 1 envelope unflavored gelatine
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
For the Blackberry Soup:
- 3 cups fresh blackberries - about 1 pound
- 1 1/4 cups red wine
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2-3 star anise
- 1/4 cup blackberry liqueur (optional)
For the Buttermilk Custards:
- Add the gelatin to a small dish and cover with the water and allow to soften.
- In a small saucepan set over medium-high, add the buttermilk, cream and milk. Heat just until there are bubbles along the edges, add the sugar and stir until dissolved.
- Remove from the heat. Set the gelatin into the microwave and zap it for 10 seconds or until it is syrupy. Add the gelatin to the buttermilk mixture and stir to incorporate completely.
- Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into another bowl and transfer to the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to cool and slightly thicken.
- Stir the mixture and pour into four 6-ounce custard dishes or molds. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill for 2-3 hours until firmly set.
To Make the Blackberry Soup:
- To a medium-size saucepan, add the blackberries, wine, sugar, vanilla and star anise. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to simmer and cook for about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool, then remove and discard the star anise and transfer the blackberry mixture to a blender or food processor and process until smooth.
- Pour through a fine-mesh strainer to remove and discard the blackberry seeds. Stir in the blackberry liqueur if using. Transfer the sauce to a bowl or pitcher, cover with plastic wrap and chill. The sauce will be slightly thickened after it has cooled.
- Run the tip of a thin knife around the rim of each custard and tip the custards into the center of four chilled shallow dishes.
- Carefully pour or spoon the sauce around each of the custards. Garnish with fresh blackberries and sprigs of mint.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 430Total Fat: 12gSodium: 87mgCarbohydrates: 67gFiber: 5.7gSugar: 59g