Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Moscato Apricots


Moscato wine has a lovely hint of apricot flavor, making this pairing pure stone fruit genius.

Apricots in Syrup

  • 2 pounds apricots, halved (4 pits reserved) 
  • 1 cup Moscato wine 
  • 1 cup water 
  • Scant 1 cup sugar 
  • 2 tablespoons orange flower honey or other light honey 
  • 4 cardamom pods, cracked 1 vanilla bean, split 
  • 2 (1-inch) strips lemon peel 

Panna Cotta

  • 1 2⁄3 cups heavy cream 
  • 1⁄4 cup vanilla sugar 
  • 1 (1⁄2-inch) strip orange peel 
  • Pinch saffron, crumbled 
  • Dash salt 
  • 1 1⁄3 cups buttermilk 
  • Scant 1 1⁄2 teaspoons granulated gelatin 
  • 2 tablespoons orange flower honey 
  • 2 teaspoons orange flower water 
  • Handful pistachios or almonds, lightly toasted and chopped, for garnish


To prepare the apricots, crack open the pits, using a hammer or back of a heavy frying pan to get at the kernels. Soak the kernels in water for 15 minutes. In a saucepot, bring the Moscato wine, water, sugar, honey, and cardamom to a boil. Scrape in the vanilla seeds, and drop in the pod and the kernels. Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Add the apricots and poach for 2 minutes, until they just begin to soften.

Transfer the apricots with a slotted spoon to a glass bowl. Bring the Moscato syrup back to a boil and simmer rapidly until thick and syrupy, about 15 minutes more. Pour the hot syrup and spices over the apricots. Chill thoroughly before serving.

To make the panna cotta, heat the cream, sugar, orange peel, saffron, and salt in a small saucepan to just under a boil. Remove from the heat, cover, and steep for 30 minutes. 

Place the cold buttermilk in a bowl and sprinkle with the gelatin, swirling a few times until dissolved. Rewarm the custard and stir in the buttermilk mixture and the honey. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes, until it begins to thicken. Strain the custard into a bowl set over ice. Whisk a few times, until cool. Stir in the orange flower water.

Transfer the custard to a measuring cup and divide evenly among 4 to 6 molds—teacups work well—or other shallow ramekins. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until set.

To unmold, wrap a warm towel around the bottom of each cup or ramekin for 30 seconds or so, then slide the tip of a thin knife around the edges of the custard to loosen from inside the bowl. Turn over onto chilled plates.

Spoon 2 to 3 poached apricot halves around the custards, drizzling each with some syrup. Dust a bit of chopped pistachio over the top of each.



Moscato Zabaglione with Lemon Polenta Cookies


Makes: 4-6 servings


  • 110g unsalted butter
  • softened ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • ½ cup polenta
  • 1¼ cups plain all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • Zabaglione
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup Italian Moscato or Essencia


For the Cookies

Preheat oven to 180°C.
Beat butter and sugar in large bowl until fluffy.
Beat in lemon zest and salt, then egg yolks.
Beat in polenta, then flour.
Fold in raisins.
Knead dough just to combine; transfer to sheet of plastic wrap.
Using plastic, shape dough into a log 3cm in diameter, cut in half and wrap in plastic.
Chill until firm, 3 hours or up to 1 day.

Slice dough log into 0.5cm-thick rounds.
Arrange rounds on prepared baking sheet, spacing 2cm apart and reshaping into rounds if uneven. (The cookies do not spread too much so there is no need to space them too far apart.)
Bake cookies for about 15 minutes or until they have become golden in colour.
Cool on tray for 2 minutes, then lift cookies from tray using a spatula and transfer to a wire rack.

NOTE: The dough can be made up to 48 hours ahead and stored in the fridge.

For the Zabaglione

Whisk egg yolks and sugar in large metal bowl and gradually whisk in Moscato.
Set bowl over saucepan of simmering water (do not allow bowl to touch water) and whisk until mixture is thick and foamy, about 4 minutes.
Divide zabaglione among 6 cocktail glasses.
Serve immediately with Lemon Polenta Cookies.



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North Miami Beach, FL 33160


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