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Toasted Almond Panna Cotta

INGREDIENTS:Toasted Almond Panna Cotta:
6 cups heavy cream
6 cups whole milk
12 oz. sugar
1 lb., 2 oz. natural sliced almonds, toasted
4 Tbsp. gelatin, powdered

Caramelized Apricots:
12 oz. brown sugar
6 oz. butter
1 ½ vanilla beans, split and scraped
24 apricots, pitted and cut into 6 wedges each
1 ½ cups Cointreau or other orange liqueur
6 oz. natural sliced almonds, toasted DIRECTIONS:For Toasted Almond Panna Cotta: In saucepan, scald cream, milk and sugar; remove from heat. Add almonds; cover and steep for 10 minutes. In small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over ¾ cup water. When gelatin is spongy, place bowl over simmering water until gelatin melts. Stir into cream mixture. In blender, puree cream mixture; strain through fine chinois. Divide mixture equally between 24 (4-oz.) molds; cover and chill at least 4 hours or until firm.

For Caramelized Apricots: In large saute pan over medium heat, cook sugar, butter, and seeds from vanilla pod, stirring occasionally, 3-4 minutes or until it’s of caramel consistency. Add apricots and cook for about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and add Cointreau. Place pan back on heat, tilting carefully to ignite Cointreau. Simmer 2-3 minutes, shaking gently until apricots are tender.

For each serving, to order: Dip 1 panna cotta mold into hot water and invert onto serving plate; remove mold. In small pan, heat 6 apricot wedges and 2 Tbsp. sauce; spoon onto plate next to panna cotta (not touching, or panna cotta will melt). Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp. almonds. SERVINGS:24 servingsFrom:Chef Sally Camacho, Four Seasons Hotel, Beverly Hills, Calif.PHOTO CREDIT:Photo Credit: ALMOND BOARD OF CALIFORNIA