Panna cotta is one of my favorite desserts to eat as well as make. I find it’s charm lies in not only the lightness of the dessert, but in the versatility of its presentation. The panna cotta itself- panna cotta means cooked cream in Italian- can be altered to taste like vanilla, chocolate, caramel, etc. The possiblity of toppings are even more endless. For this recipe, I’m making a basic vanilla bean panna cotta topped with a simple warm berry mash.
SERVES 4 (8 ounce ramekins) or 6 (smaller portions) using a jumbo muffin pan.
MADAGASCAR VANILLA BEAN
UNFLAVORED GELATIN PACKETS (make sure you have at least 2)
WHISK, SAUCEPAN AND RAMEKINS OR JUMBO MUFFIN TRAY (OR ANY CUPS YOU HAVE).
4 TEASPOONS UNFLAVORED GELATIN
1.5 CUPS WHOLE MILK
1.5 CUPS HEAVY CREAM
HALF CUP SUGAR
ONE VANILLA BEAN
-In a saucepan, add a half cup of milk and sprinkle the 4 teaspoons gelatin over it.
-Let that soak for 3-5 minutes. The gelatin powder should be saturated.
-While it’s soaking you can slice the vanilla bean lengthwise and use your knife to scrape out the seeds.
-Turn the heat on to medium, add in the rest of the milk, sugar, the empty vanilla beans pod as well as the seeds you just scraped out of it.
-Stir it frequently, do not let it boil, and do it until everything is dissolved. I stood over it for ten minutes which was probably overkill. Just make sure it’s all dissolved (just like Jell-O).
-You can now pour the warm mixture into the containers of your choosing. The only thing to keep in mind here is having to pop them out of molds later which can be done with a knife but can be tedious. Or you can just serve them in their own individual cups or ramekins. I’ve done both and I prefer popping them out of a jumbo muffin tin upside down onto a plate and then topping off. It’s much more aesthetically pleasing to my eye.
Chill the panna cottas for at least 6 hours and serve with fresh berry topping. Recipe below:
Warm fresh raspberry sauce, enough for lightly topping each panna cotta.
*15 RASPBERRIES AND 1/2 TSP SUGAR IN A SKILLET OVER MEDIUM HEAT (you can use any berry you like or have on hand though!)
*WATCH FOR THE RASPBERRIES TO START SWEATING.
*BEGIN MASHING THEM UP AS THEY GET WARMER, UNTIL YOU ESSENTIALLY HAVE A LOOSE, WARM JAM IN THE PAN.
*TOP GENEROUSLY OVER THE CHILLED PANNA COTTA.