And just like that, it’s fall. We were swimming on Sunday. Today, it’s raining and chilly enough for hoodies. Mother Nature doesn’t dilly dally around here.
Before we can blink, the leaves will be a rainbow of bright reds, burnt oranges, and golden yellows. And then the snow will hit.
Ugh. The snow. I still haven’t recovered from last year’s 179 inches. Do the math. That’s almost 15 whopping feet of snow.
I could do without Syracuse winters, but Syracuse falls are spectacular. I sometimes forget to appreciate the absolute beauty of where we live.
We brought in September with a visit to a local apple farm. The Paula Reds, an apple similar to McIntosh, were ripe for picking. After a quick tractor ride to the trees, the boys filled two baskets. I’m already planning our next trip back to enjoy the changing fall foliage and fill our baskets with another variety of fresh-picked apples…and maybe taste a bit more of the apple wine while we’re there!
There is no shortage of delicious ways to put fresh-picked apples to use. I decided to use a few of our apples to make a quick cinnamon apple topping, which would be delicious over ice cream or mixed in with a bit of yogurt and granola. Or, do as I did, and pair the apples with a creamy buttermilk panna cotta!
Buttermilk Panna Cotta
- 3/4 cup half and half, divided
- 1 packet gelatin powder
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin powder over 1/4 cup of the milk. Set aside to allow the gelatin to bloom, or soften.
In a saucepan, combine the remaining half and half, buttermilk, sugar, and vanilla extract. Over medium/medium-low heat, gradually heat the mixture, whisking to dissolve the sugar. Once the mixture begins to bubble around the edges and the sugar is fully dissolved, gradually whisk in the gelatin mixture. Gently simmer for a minute or two, until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Strain, if necessary, to remove any undissolved gelatin chunks. Allow the mixture to cool to almost room temperature. Then, pour the mixture into small dishes or ramekins. Refrigerate until set, about 4 hours.
Serve in the dishes, topped with cinnamon apples (recipe below), or unmold to serve plated. To unmold, dip the bottom of the dishes into warm water for a few seconds. Use a knife to loosen the edges. Invert over your serving dish.
Easy Cinnamon Apple Topping
- 4-5 apples, sliced or chopped
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the apples, sugar, and cinnamon. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 10-15 minutes, until the apples are quite tender and lightly glazed with the sugar and cinnamon.
What a lovely panna cotta and apple topping.
This looks lovely! Do you think I could use agar agar instead of the gelatin?
Hi Brooke! Honestly, I don’t know too much about cooking with agar agar, so I’m sorry I can’t answer your question. Leave a comment if you try it, so we’ll know if it’s a good substitute!
Hi, I came here from the CSMonitor website. Love your pictures!
I tried the recipe and it turned out pretty well, but the panna cotta separated when I cooled it (and a lot of the cream solids came out of the half-and-half, I think…). So I ended up with two layers: one white and one gelatinous. How do you avoid that?
Thanks for your question. I actually made this recipe two times before I posted and I had a similar problem as you the first time, but not the second. On my first time, I poured and cooled the panna cotta over the apples (so that the apples were enveloped in the panna cotta). So, when I saw the clear layer, I’d assumed it was from the juices in the apples, rather than a separation of the buttermilk or half and half. But now that you mention you had the same problem, it must have been from the panna cotta mixture. Did you, by chance, put the panna cotta in the fridge while it was still warm? My best guess is that the separation occurs if it is too warm when placed in the fridge. I allowed my second batch to cool at room temperature for longer than I did the first time, and there was no separation at all. One solution to quickly cooling the mixture is to set up an ice bath to quickly cool the mixture before refrigerating. See this older post on another panna cotta recipe, where I give more details about the ice bath.
Hope that helps! Thanks for your comments!