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February 13, 2020
An Easy Yet Impressive Dessert That Says I Love You

BY MARIE LODI

Photo by Jacob Shpall

Feel like skipping the fancy restaurant dinner in favor of an intimate night at behind closed doors? If you’re whipping up a home-cooked meal (or ordering takeout and pretending you made it, no judgement!), don’t forget dessert. We asked Chef Neal Fraser, owner of Redbird in downtown Los Angeles, to dream up a cannabis-infused panna cotta recipe that’s a clever twist on the Italian favorite. 

In a standard panna cotta recipe, you would add fruit but Fraser skips it in favor of a cannabis infused basil seed syrup. Basil seeds, which can be found on Amazon, are a superfood that looks similar to a chia seed and is commonly used in Indian and Vietnamese desserts. When soaked in water and mixed into the syrup, it becomes slightly chewy with a crunchy center. Combine that with basil leaves and cannabis, and you get a syrup that’ll give this creamy dessert a sweet, fragrant kick. 

Before you panic about how fancy all this sounds, don’t worry. Everything can be prepared the night before and the most complicated items needed to create this are a strainer and a gelatin mold. Don’t have the latter? Fraser says muffin tins or even small bowls will work just as well. And should you need sexy cannabis strain suggestions, here are some that’ll make your post dessert plans extra explosive.

Panna Cotta with Infused Basil Seed Syrup (serves 4)

Ingredients for Panna Cotta

1 envelope of gelatin

2 tablespoons of cold water

1 cup of cream

1/3 cup of sugar

1 vanilla bean, split in half

Cooking spray, like PAM or similar

Directions

1. Add two tablespoons of cold water to a small bowl and sprinkle the packet of gelatin over the liquid. You’ll see the gelatin absorb and begin to swell in size. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes.

2. In a saucepan, whisk cream, sugar and vanilla together and bring up to a simmer. Add gelatin and stir until completely combined. 

3. Strain your panna cotta mixture through the strainer so you get a smooth, creamy dessert.

4. Spray your molds with cooking spray such as PAM or olive oil. Divide your liquid among the four containers.

5. Cover the containers and let it cool in the fridge for at least four hours. You can also do this the day before and let it sit overnight.

6. Before serving, dip the chilled container into hot water for three seconds and then run a knife around the edge. Place a plate over the top and flip it over. If it doesn’t come loose, give the side a few taps and it should slide out easily.

Ingredients for Infused Basil Seed Syrup

¼ cup of sugar

1 cup of water, divided into two ½ cup portions

1 teaspoon of basil seeds, find them on Amazon here

0.5 grams of cannabis

2 tablespoons of a neutral oil like canola or vegetable oil

¼ cup of basil leaves, blanched

Directions

1. Heat sugar and ½ cup of water to a boil, then remove it from the heat.

2. Smash cannabis with the back of a spoon and combine it with the neutral oil. Add it to the sugar syrup and let the mixture steep while covered on the counter for 6 hours. 

3. Put the mixture in a blender for 1 minute. Strain out the cannabis.

4. Put the liquid back in the blender and blend in the basil leaves. Strain again.  

5. Heat another ½ cup of water to a boil. 

6. Add basil seeds and soak them in the water until they absorb and double in size, about ten minutes. Cool to room temperature. 

7. Strain out any extra water from the seed mixture and add the seeds to your syrup.  

8. Mix and serve over panna cotta.

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