How to make it

  • Mix geletin with about 1/4 cup of the half and half. Let it dissolve for a few minutes.
  • Put the rest of the half and half, cream, and sugar and vanilla bean into a heavy-bottomed saucepan and turn on heat to medium-high. (If using vanilla extract, do not add at this time)
  • Bring this mixture to 170 degrees, then remove from heat and allow to cool until it is comfortable to touch.
  • Remove the vanilla bean (if using extract, add at this time).
  • Add geletin and half and half mixture, and whisk until the geletin has been fully incorporated and no lumps remain.
  • Pour into individual serving dishes or one big dish, refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours and eat and enjoy!
  • For toppings you can do just about anything - a simple caramel sauce or chocolate sauce from the grocery store or fresh fruit. My favorite is with fresh blackberries: crush the berries in a food mill or food processor and cook in a sautée pan with some sugar, cinnamon, and a splash of dry white wine or liqueur. Cook it until it becomes a syrup and then chill and spoon over pana cotta.
  • Another option is to incorporate extra ingredients into the pana cotta to make flavored desserts. You can melt a high quality chocolate bar in a double boiler, then add it to the creme mixture after the creme has reached 170 degrees, before it cools. You can also add a fruit puree (just not acidic fruits like mango, grapefruit, etc.) or add green tea powder. The possibilities are endless!

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