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Keeping Desserts Light...Even in Cold Weather

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As we head into the holiday season, it's difficult to keep menus and flavors from getting too heavy and rich. I like to keep desserts lights, incorporating winter fruits and dried fruits whenever I can. This panna cotta with fig and dried cherries gets comfort and crunch from a hazelnut crumble and black sesame seeds. 

Hazelnut Crumble Recipe ~ for 8 servings of panna cotta 


½ cup whole wheat flour

4 tbsp light brown sugar

4 tbsp butter, cut into small dice pieces

½ cup blanched hazelnuts

2 ½ tbsp black sesame seeds

½ tsp kosher salt


To make the crumble, preheat oven to 375°F. Roughly chop the hazelnuts and set aside.

Mix the flour, sugar, salt and butter in a bowl with fingers until the butter breaks down to make a coarse crumble. Add the hazelnuts, toss and spread on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes. Sprinkle sesame seeds on crumble and bake for 5 additional minutes.

Let cool and sprinkle on top of panna cotta. Crumble can also be kept in an airtight container for 3 days at room-temperature or freeze for up to a month.

Anne ReynoldsComment