Vanilla Panna Cotta is a lot easier to make than you might think! The good thing about them is that they can be made in advance and just dressed up with a bit of seasonal fruit or custard.
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.)
Lightly oil eight custard cups with a neutral-tasting oil. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water in a medium-sized bowl and let stand 5 to 10 minutes. Pour the very warm Pannacotta mixture over the gelatin and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved.
Divide the Vanilla 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.
If you’re pressed for time, pour the Panna Cotta mixture into wine goblets so you can serve them in the glasses, without un-molding.
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 until dissolved.
Recipe submitted by Sarah Briggs