Vanilla-Kirsch Panna Cotta with Cherry Compote
Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 4 and refrigerate for up to 3 days. If desired, thin the compote with 1 tablespoon hot water before serving.
Equipment: Six 3/4-cup custard cups, ramekins or decorative nonreactive molds
Ingredient Note: Kirsch (also called kirschwasser) is clear cherry brandy, commonly used as a flavor enhancer in fondue and cherries jubilee.
Substitution Tip: Increase the vanilla extract in Step 3 to 1 1/2 teaspoons and add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract to the compote when it is removed from the heat.
Tips: Be sure to measure frozen cherries while still frozen, then thaw. (Drain juice before using.)
To pit a cherry: Halve it with a paring knife then pry out the pit with the tip of the knife or use a cherry pitter, available from Williams-Sonoma at www.williams-sonoma.com, (877) 812-6235.
Find frozen, canned and dried sour cherries at King Orchards, (877) 937-5464, www.kingorchards.com, and The Cherry Stop, (800) 286-7209, www.cherrystop.net.
Note: A nonreactive pan--stainless steel, enamel-coated or glass--is necessary when cooking acidic foods, such as lemon, to prevent the food from reacting with the pan. Reactive pans, such as aluminum and cast-iron, can impart an off color and/or off flavor in acidic foods.
1 milk (fat free), 1 fruit, 1 other carbohydrate, 1 1/2 fat