One of Austin's long-time distillers, Chris Roberts of Paula's Texas Orange and Paula's Texas Limoncello, has created a new honeysuckle liqueur which, if you're from the South, will bring back childhood memories of picking off a honeysuckle bloom and sucking the sweet nectar from the bottom of the stem, but with added benefits. It's a brilliant product, in beautiful packaging, and makes fantastic cocktails or is fabulous sipped over ice, I recently used it to make a dessert -- Poole's Panna Cotta with Honeysuckle-Soaked Berries, Toasted Hazelnuts & Mint. Ashley Christianson, a James Beard Award Recipient Chef from Poole's Diner in Raleigh, NC, who I've had the privilege of meeting and who's cookbook is one of my most favorite, makes a unique panna cotta with sour cream. I've reproduced her recipe here and altered the fruit topping using the Martine Honeysuckle Liqueur which I think pair perfectly together. I also top the entire dessert with some toasted, crushed hazelnuts to give it some crunch. I'm so excited for this new product and it as become a staple in my liquor cabinet. Recipe below:
Panna Cotta with Honeysuckle Liqueur
(adapted by Trish Wesevich)
Poole's Panna Cotta
3 1/2 sheets gelatin
2 cups heavy cream
4 tablespoons sugar
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 cup sour cream
Berries & Hazelnuts
1/2 cup blanched hazelnuts
2 cups blackberries, strawberries & blueberries
Martine Honeysuckle Liqueur
Spray eight 4-oz ramekins with nonstick cooking spray. Place the gelatin sheets in a small bowl and cover with ice water. Soak until soft, about 10 minutes making sure the sheets are submerged.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the cream, sugar, and sea salt and heat, taking care not to scorch the liquid. Drain the gelatin and squeeze out any excess liquid. When the cream is hot but not scalding, remove from the heat. Add the gelatin to the saucepan. Stir gently, then let it come to room temperature. Place the sour cream in a medium bowl and whisk in the cream mixture a little bit at a time until fully combined and smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Divide the mixture among the prepared ramekins and chill uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to 48 hours.
Meanwhile, toast the hazelnuts for a few minutes in a 350 degrees oven until fragrant. Place in a ziplock baggie and lightly crush with a mallet. Place berries in a bowl and just cover with the honeysuckle liqueur.
To serve, unmold the panna cotta onto a plate. Top each serving with the soaked berries, toasted hazelnuts and a mint leaf.