Don’t strain out the peppercorns completely; a few fine grains add visual interest and flavor. This recipe is adapted from the new book that I edited, Downtime: Deliciousness at Home, by Nadine Levy Redzepi.
- Combine the cream and milk in a large measuring cup and microwave until very hot but not boiling, about 2½ minutes. Stir in the pepper and set aside to steep.
- In a small bowl stir together the gelatin and 1 tablespoon of water. Set aside to soften.
- Arrange 4 small ramekins on the counter near your cooktop. In a small skillet or saucepan, stir 3 tablespoons of the sugar together with a tablespoon of water. Cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, then continue to cook, swirling the pan often, until it is a golden amber color. Don’t stir the sugar as it is caramelizing or it will crystalize and become grainy; just keep it moving to keep it from burning. Immediately drizzle a little of the caramel into the bottom of each ramekin and set aside.
- Strain the cream mixture into a saucepan and discard the large bits of pepper; it’s okay if a few smaller bits get through the sieve. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar and the softened gelatin and bring the mixture nearly to a simmer. Cook without boiling for another minute or until the gelatin is completely dissolved.
- Divide the mixture among the ramekins and cool to room temperature, then refrigerate overnight.
- To serve, fill a bowl with boiling water. Run a knife around the sides of each ramekin to release the panna cottas, then dip them in the hot water for a few seconds. Wiggle and shake the ramekin until you see some of the caramel escaping from the sides, then invert the panna cotta onto a dessert plate. Sprinkle with a few flakes of salt and scatter a bit more ground pepper on the plate.
Pam Krauss is the publisher of an eponymous imprint at Penguin Random House and has worked with such authors as Ina Garten, Giada De Laurentiis, Mark Bittman, Alice Waters, and many more. She lives and cooks in Brooklyn and Southampton, NY. Follow her on Instagram @pam_krauss and @pamkraussbooks.