I have always wanted to make Panna Cotta (Cooked Cream). It is such a lovely, light dessert that is a blank slate for pairing with any fruit one desires. Or, you can flavor the cotta. Typically, you use a vanilla bean or, vanilla flavoring if you don't have a bean. But what about dark cocoa or mint? So, I decided to first do the classic dessert and at a later date, I will post my experiments.
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 Panna Cotta mixture over the gelatin and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved.
* I spooned two tablespoons raspberry pie filling into the bottom of each custard cup.
Then divide the Panna Cotta mixture into the prepared cups, and chill them until firm, which will take at least two hours.
Run a sharp knife around the edge of each Panna Cotta and unmold each onto a serving plate, and garnish as desired.