Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Espresso Panna Cotta -- a dessert #recipe from @LeslieBudewitz

LESLIE BUDEWITZ:  The weekend before last, Mr. Right and I took a long-overdue road trip to central Montana, visiting old haunts, art museums, and historical sites. We stayed in historic hotels, ate good food, and just generally relaxed. In Great Falls, we had dinner at a lovely place in an old warehouse called Fifth and Wine, sharing a bottle of chardonnay, a beautiful charcuterie plate, and big, crunch salads. Sadly, that left no room for dessert, but I kept thinking about the Espresso Panna Cotta we’d turned down. So I found a couple of recipes on line and created this version. The espresso flavor is strong and clean, the texture smooth and creamy. A delight, and we’ll be making it again soon. 

Espresso Panna Cotta

1/2 cup milk, whole or 2%

1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

3 heaping teaspoons instant espresso powder

1/4 cup sugar

Pinch salt

Garnish options:

1 small white chocolate bar, for garnishing

1 small dark chocolate bar, for garnishing

mint leaves

fresh raspberries

Place the milk in a heavy, small saucepan. Sprinkle the gelatin over the milk and let stand for 5 minutes to soften the gelatin. 

Whisk over low heat until the gelatin dissolves, but the milk does not boil, about 2 minutes. 

Add the cream, espresso powder, sugar, and salt. Whisk over low heat, until the sugar dissolves, about 3 more minutes. Remove from the heat and cool slightly, about 1o minutes. 

Pour or ladle into serving glasses or cups, dividing equally. Cover and refrigerate, stirring every 20 minutes during the first hour, to prevent a skim forming on the surface. Chill until set, at least 3 hours. 

Before serving, use a vegetable peeler on the chocolate to create about 1 tablespoon each of white and dark chocolate shavings. Sprinkle the shavings over each panna cotta. Or garnish with mint and berries or a combination. 

Serves 4. 

Note about serving dishes: prep bowls or small canning jars with lids would work beautifully, so you can seal them lightly to chill and save any extras. 

And no, this isn't a Christmas recipe, but it would be lovely at a holiday dinner, wouldn't it? Do you find yourself creating at home dishes you enjoyed -- or had to skip -- while eating out? 

PEPPERMINT BARKED: A Spice Shop Mystery (coming July 19, 2022 from Seventh St. Books)

From the cover: 
A Dickens of a Christmas turns deadly…

As the holiday season lights up Seattle’s famed Pike Place Market, Pepper Reece’s beloved Spice Shop is brimming with cinnamon, nutmeg, and shoppers eager to stuff their stockings. Add to the mix a tasty staff competition—a peppermint bark-off—along with Victorian costumes for this year’s Dickensian Christmas theme, and Pepper almost forgets to be nervous about meeting her fisherman boyfriend’s brother for the first time.

But when a young woman working in her friend Vinny’s wine shop is brutally assaulted, costumed revelers and holiday cheer are the last things on Pepper’s mind. Who would want to hurt Beth? Or were they looking for Vinny instead?

The vicious attack upsets everyone at Pike Place, but none more than Pepper’s own employee, Matt Kemp. At first, Pepper is baffled by his reaction, but his clandestine connection to Beth could hold the key to the assailant’s motive. Or perhaps it’s Vinny’s ex-wife who knows more than she’s letting on . . . and what about the mysterious top-hatted man with whom Pepper saw Beth arguing that morning?

As the secrets of the market come to light, long-held grudges, family ties, and hidden plans only further obscure the truth. Is it a ghost of the past rattling its chains, or a contemporary Scrooge with more earthly motives? As Pepper chases down a killer, someone is chasing her, and in the end, the storied market itself may hold the final, deadly clue.

A cozy holiday mystery full of culinary delights and a rich cast of characters, the sixth installment in the Spice Shop Mystery series will keep you turning the page . . . and reaching for another piece of peppermint bark. 

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries, and the winner of Agatha Awards in three categories. Death al Dente, the first Food Lovers' Village Mystery, won Best First Novel in 2013, following her 2011 win in Best Nonfiction. Her first historical short story, "All God's Sparrows," won the 2018 Agatha Award for Best Short Story. Peppermint Barked, her 6th Spice Shop mystery, will appear in July 2022, and Blind Faith, her second standalone suspense novel (written as Alicia Beckman), will release in October 2022. 

A past president of Sisters in Crime and a current board member of Mystery Writers of America, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.

Swing by Leslie's website and join the mailing list for her seasonal newsletter. And join her on Facebook where she shares book news and giveaways from her writer friends, and talks about food, mysteries, and the things that inspire her.


  1. The Espresso Panna Cotta sounds yummy!

    Hubby and I both love being in the kitchen. We do find ourselves trying to duplicate a dish we had somewhere. A few times it was because it was a dish we loved but for whatever reason they no longer serve it. Between the two of us, and trial and error, we can usually come up with a decent replica and often times something even better.

    Can't wait for the opportunity to read "PEPPERMINT BARKED". Most definitely on my TBR list.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  2. Ah, the favorite dish no longer available -- so sad! The closure of a local Italian joint prompted us to finally figure out how to make decent thin crust pizza at home!

  3. Panna cotta is so lovely, smooth and creamy.