Citizens – the Jewish holiday of Shavuot begins at sunset today, marking one of the holiest events in the Jewish year that celebrates both the annual wheat harvest and the giving of the Torah to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai.
It is customary to have a dairy-only meal on Shavuot – the website chabad.org notes the metaphysical rationale:
The Torah is likened to nourishing milk. Also, the Hebrew word for milk is chalav, and when the numerical values of each of the letters in the word chalav are added together—8 + 30 + 2—the total is forty. Forty is the number of days Moses spent on Mount Sinai when receiving the Torah.
Traditionally, blintzes or cheesecake make up the dairy dessert in Ashkenazic (Germanic Jews) homes, while ‘ataiyef are enjoyed by Mizrahi (Arabic Jews). TFG has decided to instead share his personal panna cotta recipe for a delightful change of pace! Since this meal is all about the dairy, please use the best-quality organic milk you can find, ideally from the Jersey breed of cows that have the richest milk and cream of all!
Panna cotta (Italian ‘cooked cream’) is an Italian dessert of sweetened cream thickened with gelatin and molded. The cream may be aromatized with rum, coffee, vanilla, or other flavorings – I use vanilla and a mere whisper of lavender.
Panna cotta is often served with a coulis of berries, or a sauce of caramel or chocolate. It may be covered with fruit or with liqueurs – I love it with this fantastic sweet and sour combination of strawberries and balsamic vinegar.
To round out the flavors and for decorative color, I lastly add a touch of bitter green tea powder – feel free to omit it.
Enjoy, my Citizens – and for those celebrating, Hapky Shavuot! 🙂
Battle on – The Generalissimo
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