When I was in Rome, I had the most delicious panna cotta, milk custard, topped with wild berries, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries. It was creamy, sweet and just plain comfort food. I had to go back to the restaurant to get it again.
I have even adored and lusted over the panna cotta with pomegranate sauce at Incanto (San Francisco restaurant known for its offal). After wanting it more than I had opportunities to eat it, I decided to make it.
Its simplicity surprised me, and made me realize why did I ever pay so much money for this dessert out at restaurants. A few ingredients, which included, cream, half and half, sugar, vanilla bean, and gelatin with a minimum of cooking makes this a perfect dessert for a dinner party. A beautiful presentation, a creamy decadent taste with minimum effort. I topped mine with crushed raspberries and sliced strawberries from our garden:
I am giving you the link from epicurious in which I cut this recipe in half to make 4 ramekins.
Click here for the recipe.
I did substitute the vanilla extract for the vanilla bean. I think it gives a more complex yet mellow vanilla flavor. I scraped the bean and placed it in my cream mixture with the pod. Before adding the cream to the gelatin, I removed the pod. I love to see a sprinkling of vanilla bean. I also think it is important to use quality cream. Since cream is the predominant flavor, pick the very best. I enjoy Strauss’s cream; it is sweet and ultra thick, perfect for this dessert. Panna Cotta is quite versatile; in The French Laundry Cookbook they serve a cauliflower panna cotta, making it savory. But the creamy milk custard allows you immense creativity, plum sauce, kumquats, three citrus etc…
Enjoy this delectable Italian dessert!