This is a quick post, in line with how quick this recipe is. Panna cotta is the perfect summer dessert. It takes almost no effort to make, minimal preparation, and pairs with almost any fresh ripe summer fruit. You could do peaches, raspberries, cherries, apricots…pretty much anything. I like raspberries the best because they crush up easily and make their own sauce as you spoon up the creamy panna cotta.
I made this dessert in a panic during Stampede when I realized that in between Stampede breakfast hopping, free concerts, Bollywood dancing, and fireworks I had no time to make a fabulous pie or cake for the BBQ that night. Once again, panna cotta saved the day.
So heat up that milk, dissolve that gelatin, go out and enjoy the sun, come back a few hours later to delicious cold and creamy Italian milk pudding.
Perfect Panna Cotta (from David Lebovitz)
You can make them up to two days ahead and keep them well-covered and chilled.
For gelatin-related questions, read my Tips for Using Gelatin. You can find instructions for using sheet gelatin at the end of the recipe.
- 4 cups (1l) heavy cream (or half-and-half)
- 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
- 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, or 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 2 packets powdered gelatin (about 4 1/2 teaspoons)
- 6 tablespoons (90ml) cold water
1. Heat the heavy cream and sugar in a saucepan or microwave. Once the sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
(If using a vanilla bean, scrape the seeds from the bean into the cream and add the bean pod. Cover, and let infuse for 30 minutes. Remove the bean then rewarm the mixture before continuing.)
2. Lightly oil eight custard cups with a neutral-tasting oil.
3. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water in a medium-sized bowl and let stand 5 to 10 minutes.
4. Pour the very warm Panna Cotta mixture over the gelatin and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved.
5. Divide the Panna Cotta mixture into the prepared cups, then chill them until firm, which will take at least two hours but I let them stand at least four hours. (Judy told me American refrigerators are colder than European ones. )
If you’re pressed for time, pour the Panna Cotta mixture into wine goblets so you can serve them in the glasses, without unmolding.
6. Run a sharp knife around the edge of each Panna Cotta and unmold each onto a serving plate, and garnish as desired.
To make Panna Cotta with sheet gelatin: Soften 25g (approximately six sheets) in a liter of cold water for 5 to 10 minutes. Wring the sheets out and stir them into the warm Panna Cotta mixture in step # 4, until dissolved.