One of my favorites make-ahead dessert recipes is Panna Cotta. Panna Cotta is a light Italian dessert made by simmering together cream, milk and sugar and mixing with gelatin, eaten all over Italy. This is one of the popular Italian Dessert. Milky pudding or flan.
There are several ways to make Panna Cotta. You can serve it chilled with Strawberries, Raspberries, Blueberries, Blackberries, Carmel, Chocolate, Nutella, Citrus Fruits, Spices and get very creative with this desert. This is going to be a recipe I make over and over again during 2012 for my family.
My recipe calls for half and half with a mixture of milk. However, you can substitute the milk based ingredients for heavy cream or add a touch of milk as I did to reduce the richness of the recipe. When making vanilla infused desserts & pastries, I use an organic vanilla bean to obtain a real vanilla taste. The aroma of the vanilla bean give your home a pleasant cooking smell. I also like how the vanilla bean seeds look on top of the Panna Cotta.
I enjoyed making the dessert so much, I made a huge batch and stored it for my family in jars to eat as they please during the week. I typically like to double this recipe because it disappears quickly.
4 cups half-and-half
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 whole vanilla bean
4 1/2 teaspoons powdered unflavored gelatin (2 packets)
6 tablespoons cold water
1 box Raspberries
1 box Blueberries
1 box Blackberries
1. Heat the half and half, milk and sugar in a saucepan. Once the sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
2. Heat vanilla bean in 350 degrees oven for 20-30 seconds. Split bean in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds and pod into the cream mixture. Cover and let infuse for 30 minutes. Remove the bean then rewarm the mixture before continuing.
3. Prepare 8 small jars for pouring.*
4. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water in a medium bowl and let stand 5-10 minutes.
5. Pour the warm Panna Cotta mixture over the gelatin and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved.
6. Divide the Panna Cotta mixture into the prepared jars, then chill them for two – four hours.
7. Serve with mixture of fresh Raspberries, Blueberries, Blackberries.
*You can also pour the panna cotta into large mold for larger parties or lightly oiled ramekins.
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