Panna Cotta with Vanilla

Panna cotta is one of the Italian desserts most known and appreciated for its simplicity of preparation and its delicate taste. Panna cotta originated in the Piedmont region of Italy.  Today, it is popular internationally in its many splendid variations.

1 1/2 cups cream
1 1/2 cups milk
1 vanilla bean
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoon gelatin powder


1.      Place the cream and milk in a medium size saucepan. Use a small sharp knife to split the vanilla bean lengthwise, then scrape the seeds from inside the bean. Add the seeds and bean to the saucepan. Slowly bring to a boil over a medium heat. Remove from the heat and set aside for 10 minutes.

2.      Discard bean from the mixture. Add sugar and return to stove over low heat. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes, or until the sugar dissolves.

3.      Place 2 tablespoons of boiling water in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the gelatin. Bring a small saucepan of water to boil. Remove from heat. Sit the bowl of gelatin in the water and stir until dissolved. Cool slightly, then stir into the cream mixture.

4.      Lightly oil 6 (1/2 cup) molds or ramekins. Place on a tray and pour in the cream mixture. Refrigerate for 4-6 hours.

5.      To serve, insert a small knife between the panna cotta and the mold. Turn onto a serving plate and shake to release. Serve dish with fresh berries, whip cream, or warmed marmalade.
Vanilla Pod

Honestly, I knew very little about this dessert until I made it in one of my cooking classes. Once I tasted the Panna Cotta, I can’t seem to stop enjoying it. It’s the ideal light dessert served after a heavy meal.  

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