Sometimes, not all the time, but every so often, things are best when left really simple.
When it comes to desserts, I get a little annoyed with those that consist of a million components and that require a million steps to complete. I'm a firm believer in using simple, beautiful ingredients to yield complex flavors (oftentimes more complex than what you would get from one of those fancy, fru-fru desserts).
For a person who used to "ehhh" at the thought of vanilla or panna cotta, this Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta recipe has certainly converted me into a lover of both.
In case you're not following, Panna Cotta, literally translated to mean "cooked cream," is a custard made from cream, milk, sugar, and gelatin. If done right, this dessert should be smooth and decadent, but definitely not rubbery, which is what happens with so many unfortunate recipes.
Panna Cotta can be infused with whatever flavors you can imagine, but for this recipe I decided to keep it simple and evoke the rich, floral, luxurious notes of a fresh vanilla bean.
Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta
yield: 8 servings
1 cup milk
1, .25 oz packet gelatin (powdered)
3 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp almond liquor
1 vanilla bean
1/4 cup blueberries, optional
In a medium saucepan combine milk and gelatin, and let stand 5 minutes before turning on heat.
Stir over medium-low heat until gelatin dissolves. Add heavy cream, sugar, and almond liquor. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean, and add to the saucepan along with the bean. Continue to stir, until sugar dissolves, 2-3 minutes.
Remove pan from heat, and let cool to room temperature. Distribute mixture evenly among 7-oz ramekins or cups, filling about 3/4 of the way up. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or overnight. Garnish with blueberries.
That's all folks. Really, that's it!