Light Vanilla Panna Cotta

Light Vanilla Panna Cotta

Light Vanilla Panna Cotta

This is a go-to summer dessert!  Low in fat (you don't have to make it low fat, as you can use cream in place of the evaporated milk and whole milk, if you choose), this is so easy to make in the morning and end dinner with!  No real cooking required, just heat the milk in the microwave until it steams to dissolve the gelatin.  Top it with my Caramel Sauce (shown), chocolate sauce, berries, or serve it plain for a creamy, cool, delightful dessert. (The recipes for making caramel and caramel sauce will be available in the August edition!)

2 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin (1 packet)

1/2 cup sugar

12 ounces evaporated non-fat milk

12 ounces skim milk

1 whole vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped out (or use 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, if you don't have a vanilla bean)

Combine all ingredients including the seeds and pod of the vanilla bean in a large glass microwave-proof bowl and stir well, so that the gelatin starts to soften. (Don't add the vanilla extract now if you are using that instead of the vanilla bean.)  Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes. 

Place the mixture in the microwave and heat for 4-5 minutes until very hot and steaming (no need to boil).  Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a 4-cup glass measure with a spout.  If you are using vanilla extract add it now. (If you are using extract, you can heat it in the measuring cup and skip the straining step.)

Pour into 6 custard cups placed on a sheet pan and allow to cool to room temperature.  Cover all tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4-6 hours.

Serve "as-is" in the cups, or you can invert the panna cotta onto a serving plate for a more formal presentation.  (Wrap a hot, wet dish towel around the cups to loosen the panna cotta, cover with the plate, and flip it over.)  Drizzle with caramel or chocolate syrup, top with berries, or serve plain.  All variations are delicious!

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