Free-Standing Vanilla Panna Cotta for 2

I honestly can’t remember what made me think of this recipe. I remember vaguely being in the mood for something creamy, and also intrigued by making something new (panna cotta). I had a little heavy cream that needed to get used, and everything else on the list was a pantry item. So, it seemed like a good idea. Basically, I made it while feeding the Fudgelet dinner, and then K and I had it for dessert. It was fun to be all “oh, and look at this random treat from the refrigerator”.

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It’s not a super cold dessert, so maybe not your top wish for a dessert on the hottest days, but it is still refreshing and light, which makes it perfect for these final summer days. I added some butterscotch/caramel/chocolate balls from Trader Joe’s, but they weren’t necessary. I would have been happy eating the panna cotta all by itself. The vanilla bean is really obvious since it sunk to the bottom (becoming the top). As long as you are aware of what the speckled look is from, it’s entirely desirable.

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If you’ve never had panna cotta before, it tastes like a firm pudding. Not like flan (a worry of mine since I’m not a huge fan of jiggly foods), but still super smooth. You finish it before you realize you ate it all.

Oh, by the way, the vanilla bean paste is optional…you could just use vanilla extract, or leave it out and just use the bean…but I liked a little extra vanilla boost.

Directions for Free-Standing Vanilla Panna Cotta for 2

Adapted from Baking Chez Moi

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup milk (preferably whole)
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (optional)
  • 1.25 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  • 1 Tablespoon, plus 1.5 teaspoons cold water

In a small saucepan, combine the cream, milk, and sugar, and scrape out the vanilla bean seeds into the mixture. Add the vanilla bean, and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and cover, steeping for 20 minutes.

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When the 20 minutes is almost done, put the gelatin in a medium-large microwave-safe bowl. Pour the cold water into the bowl and let it sit for about 3 minutes until the gelatin begins to “bloom” and is moistened. Heat in the microwave for about 20 seconds to liquefy it.

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Bring the cream mixture in the saucepan back to a boil, removing the vanilla bean first, then pour into the gelatin bowl. Stir to completely to dissolve the gelatin.

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Stir in the vanilla bean paste. Let it sit for 20 minutes to cool slightly. Lightly oil two ramekins or glasses, then, pour the mixture into the glasses.

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Refrigerate until the panna cotta is set, at least 2 hours.

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When ready to serve, run a knife around the edge to turn them onto a serving plate.

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Directions for Free-Standing Vanilla Panna Cotta for 2 (without pictures)

Adapted from Baking Chez Moi

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup milk (preferably whole)
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (optional)
  • 1.25 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  • 1 Tablespoon, plus 1.5 teaspoons cold water

In a small saucepan, combine the cream, milk, and sugar, and scrape out the vanilla bean seeds into the mixture. Add the vanilla bean, and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and cover, steeping for 20 minutes.

When the 20 minutes is almost done, put the gelatin in a medium-large microwave-safe bowl. Pour the cold water into the bowl and let it sit for about 3 minutes until the gelatin begins to “bloom” and is moistened. Heat in the microwave for about 20 seconds to liquefy it.

Bring the cream mixture in the saucepan back to a boil, removing the vanilla bean first, then pour into the gelatin bowl. Stir to completely to dissolve the gelatin. Stir in the vanilla bean paste. Let it sit for 20 minutes to cool slightly. Lightly oil two ramekins or glasses, then, pour the mixture into the glasses. Refrigerate until the panna cotta is set, at least 2 hours. When ready to serve, run a knife around the edge to turn them onto a serving plate.

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