Strawberry Red Wine Panna Cotta

Makes 20 servings

3 quarts  heavy cream

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 tablespoons vanilla extract or 1 whole vanilla bean

6 packages gelatin (approximately 4 1/2 tablespoons)

1 cup + 2 tablespoons water

vegetable oil (for oiling cups)

20 6-ounce custard cups

3 8 oz. jars Locally Preserved Strawberry Red Wine Syrup

1 block dark chocolate, dark

20 whole strawberries, for garnish

1 bunch mint, for garnish


Heat the heavy cream and sugar in a saucepan or microwave. Once the sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. (If using a vanilla bean, split in half and scrape the seeds from the bean into the cream; add the bean pod to the cream). Cover and allow the mixture to infuse for 30 minutes. Remove the bean, then rewarm the mixture over medium heat.

Lightly oil eight custard cups with vegetable oil.*

Add cold water to a medium bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let stand 5 to 10 minutes. Pour the warm panna cotta mixture over the gelatin and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved.

Divide the panna cotta mixture into the prepared cups. Refrigerate to chill until firm, at least two hours (preferably four hours).

When the panna cotta has thoroughly set, run a sharp knife around the edge of each cup and unmold onto a serving plate. Top with Strawberry Red Wine Syrup. Garnish each serving with chocolate shavings (use a cheese grater or Microplane), one whole strawberry, and a mint leaf.

*If you’re pressed for time, you can pour the panna cotta mixture into wine goblets to serve the dish without unmolding. 

Posted on March 27, 2014 .

Blackberry Sage Cheesecake

Makes 16  servings


Makes 16  servings


For the crust

1 box biscotti or vanilla wafers

1/2 cup pecans

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


For the filling

3 8-ouunce packages cream cheese

1 1/2 cup sugar

4 large eggs

1/2 cup sour cream


For the topping

1 8-ounce jar Locally Preserved Blackberry Sage Syrup, divided

1 1/2 cup fresh blackberries, divided

sage leaves, for garnish


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Combine cookies and pecans in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture resembles wet sand. Add melted butter and vanilla to the mixture. Pulse again until combined. Pour the crust mixture into a 10-inch spring-form pan and press to create an even 1/4 to 1/2-inch layer that covers the bottom of the pan. (Press evenly against the side of the pan if you have extra crust mix left.)

For the filling, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating to combine after each addition. Add sour cream and gently stir to combine. Pour the cream cheese filling into the prepared crust. Smooth the top with an offset spatula.

Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Turn off oven and open door. Allow the cheesecake to sit inside the oven with the door open for 15 minutes. Remove and allow the cheesecake cool.

For the topping, combine 1 cup of whole blackberries with 3/4 jar of Blackberry Sage Syrup in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Warm the sauce over medium heat, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Pour the blackberry mixture over the cheesecake. Place the cheesecake in the refrigerator until chilled and set, at least 2 hours (preferably overnight).

To serve, remove the spring-form rim and slice the cheesecake into 16 servings with a long serrated knife. Garnish with whole blackberries, sage leaves, and drizzle with leftover Blackberry Sage Syrup.

Posted on March 27, 2014 .