We adore Treat Spiced Pecans, nuts roasted to perfection in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with a candied shell that is just irresistible. We love them so much, we are selling them by the bag in our store. In fact, we are selling a whole bunch of some of our favorite small batch products individually now. We love to make up seasonal and themed gift boxes for you, obviously, but we also realize sometimes you just need those nuts, or that honey, or some taffy to satisfy a craving. We know the feeling. – Maggie
Every time I see panna cotta on a menu, I always wonder why I don’t make it at home more often. I adore everything about it, from the first silky bite to the last lick off of the spoon. It truly is one of those forgotten desserts. Don’t you think?
When Maggie sent along a package of Treat Bake Shop Spiced Pecans recently to see what I might come up with, my first thought, beyond just enjoying each one, was to toss them into a salad. But as soon as I took the first nibble, I instantly thought of panna cotta. The pecans are a little spicy, a little sweet and a little salty. I thought they would add a creative bite of flavor to the creaminess of the dessert. I also envisioned the subtle spiciness would be delightful with saffron. Using the nuts definitely veered from the norm of serving a panna cotta with a jelly or fruit-based topping or bottom — but the change was good.
Normally, I make panna cotta strictly with heavy cream. I know, a bit sinful, but isn’t that what dessert is all about? I wanted some tang to mingle with all the flavors of the pecans so I used buttermilk as well as cream. Saffron was mainly added for the gorgeous color. But the slight bitterness of the saffron also complemented the rest of the ingredients, and, well I just think that saffron adds a lovely perfume to dishes.
I have to admit a small secret: this recipe was so complex, with layers of flavor, that we ended up not sharing the final dishes them with anyone. Instead, we enjoyed all 8 servings. Now that is even more sinful than the heavy cream!
Saffron Panna Cotta with Spiced Pecans
inspired by Judy Witts Francini
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 2 packets powdered gelatin
- 6 tablespoons cold water
- 1 tablespoon saffron
- Treat Spiced Pecans
- Heat the cream, buttermilk, sugar and vanilla bean in a saucepan over medium heat. Once the sugar is dissolved, remove from the heat. Sprinkle the saffron over the top. Let mingle for 60 minutes. Remove the bean from the milky mixture and gently re-warm.
- In a small bowl sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let stand for 10 minutes. Pour the milky mixture over the gelatin and stir until completely dissolved.
- Divide the panna cotta mixture between 8 serving glasses, cups or bowls. Chill until firm, about 4 hours.
- Lightly crush the pecans. Sprinkle over the top of the panna cotta. Serve. Eat. Enjoy!
All photos styled and taken by Denise Woodward.
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