Panna Cotta is an Italian dessert that’s become very popular all over the United States. It’s a custard-like confection made of cream sweetened with sugar and thickened with gelatin. Though it’s made with rich cream, it’s surprisingly light, and the ease of making it belies how fancy it looks.
To serve, I like to loosen the panna cottas from the ramekins and turn them out onto dessert plates, then pour some sauce carefully around each panna cotta. You could also just pour the sauce on top of the panna cottas in their ramekins and serve them that way. Mint leaves and fresh raspberries make a pretty garnish.
VANILLA BEAN PANNA COTTA WITH MIXED BERRY SAUCE
- 1 packet unflavored gelatin
- ¼ cup cold water
- 3 cups whipping cream
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped (can substitute 1 tsp. vanilla extract)
- In a small bowl, soften gelatin in cold water; set aside.
- Place whipping cream, sugar and vanilla bean in a saucepan.
- Cook over medium heat, stirring until mixture comes to a simmer.
- Simmer gently for 5 minutes, then remove from heat.
- Pick out and discard the vanilla bean pod.
- Add gelatin to hot cream mixture, stirring until gelatin dissolves completely.
- Pour into 6 lightly oiled 1/2-cup ramekins or other small cylindrical molds and refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours.
MIXED BERRY SAUCE
- 1 bag (10 ozs.) frozen mixed berries, thawed (can substitute fresh berries)
- 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar (taste and add more if you want it sweeter)
- 2 Tbsp. brandy
- Combine berries and sugar in bowl of a food processor or blender.
- Blend until berries are completely crushed.
- Pour through a strainer into a bowl, pushing mixture back and forth with a rubber spatula. Discard the solids.
- Stir the brandy into the sauce.