COCOA NIB PANNA COTTA


1/2 cup cocoa nibs, coarsely chopped into smaller bits or ground in a whirly blade coffee grinder
3 1/4 cups heavy cream
2 3/4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup plus 2 T. sugar
pinch of salt
Fresh blackberries or blackberry puree, well-sugared

Special Equipment: 6 ramekins, Instant-read thermometer

Bring the nibs and cream to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat, cover, and let steep for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, sprinkle the gelatin over the cold milk in a small bowl and set aside to let the gelatin soften.

Strain the cream, pressing lightly on the nibs to extract all the liquid. Discard the nibs. Return the cream to the saucepan, add the sugar, and bring to a simmer. Pour into a heatproof bowl. Gradually sitr in the milk, then the salt. Set the bowl in a larger bowl of ice cubes and water and stir frequently until the mixture thickens and registers 50 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.

Divide evenly among the ramekins. Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight.

Serve the panna cotta in the ramekins. Or wrap each ramekin in a hot wrung-our wet towel and unmold onto dessert plates. Accompany with well-sugared berries or berry puree.

Note: Measure the gelatin like a miser, or risk turning an exquisite confection into a dish of Jell-O.