Dana Slatkin

Chocolate Sesame Panna Cotta

Chocolate Sesame Panna CottaOnce in a very rare while, there’s a pause in my day, when nobody needs me, there is nowhere I need to be, and all is quiet. A shot of bliss. It’s when you’ll usually find me doing one of two things: hiking or playing the piano.

Last week, there was one such moment and, while playing a Bach fugue, this dessert came to me. I had been trying to come up with the grand finale for my Modern Mediterranean class, featuring the owner of Momed Beverly Hills. I was looking for the impossibly perfect dessert with a Mediterranean twist. It had to be decadent but light, simple to make but complex in flavor, minutes to prep but memorable.

And in the middle of a particularly melodious contrapuntal passage, I thought of halvah, the Middle Eastern candy bar I used to eat as a kid to give me energy before a piano lesson. Of course, sesame and chocolate…counterpoint at its best.

I finished the fugue and rushed to the kitchen to test my inspiration. It took me all of five minutes to prepare and, while I waited for my pudding to set in the fridge, I went back to business, crossing ten items off my to-do list for the day. By the time I was able to take a creamy, chocolatey bite, the swig of serenity had long passed. But I was left with a sweet reminder to appreciate the gift of a brief but precious gap.


If you love chocolate but don’t want to blow your diet, you will flip for these light desserts: Salted Chocolate Caramel Coconut Tart; Ginger-Chocolate Souffle; and Berries with Chocolate-Coconut Fondue.

There’s still time to enter the January Giveaway for a chance to win this handy OXO Good Grips Egg Beater!

Photo credits: Simply Recipes

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