I am not a fan of anything with milk. I blame it on a bad childhood experience (enough said). So when Christi showed up to our dinner party with Panna Cotta, I already knew there was no way the beautiful dessert was going to pass my lips. I mean look at some of the ingredients – skim milk and heavy cream – that was two strikes right there. But, Christi in her persuasiveness insisted the dessert was amazingly delicious. Against my better judgment and knowing I wouldn’t like it, I took the tiniest of bites. “Yes, Christi…I WAS WRONG and YOU WERE RIGHT.” No milky taste to the Panna Cotta at all – just a light and sweet fluffiness enhanced by a touch of honey and tangy berries.
Serve this elegant dessert as the final course to complement our rustic Italian holiday menu. It can be made in advance so you can actually enjoy an evening NOT spent entirely in the kitchen.
1/3 cup skim milk
1 (.25 ounce) envelope unflavored gelatin
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
fresh raspberries and blueberries
Pour milk into a small bowl and stir in the gelatin powder. Set aside.
In a saucepan, stir together the heavy cream and sugar, and place over medium heat. Bring cream and sugar to a boil, stirring slightly. Pour the gelatin and milk mixture into the cream, stirring thoroughly until completely dissolved. Cook for one minute or so, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour into 5 or 6 individual ramekin dishes.
Cool the ramekins, uncovered, at room temperature. When completely cool, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least four hours but, ideally, overnight before serving.
Just before serving, drizzle honey in a cross-pattern and top with fresh berries.
*Double the recipe to make 10-12 ramekins