Easy and Elegant Panna Cotta

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I had a half jug of buttermilk in the fridge and didn’t want it to go bad and have to toss it. I was looking for a dessert or something other than biscuits and pancakes when I stumbled upon this little recipe at Saveur for Buttermilk Panna Cotta. Doesn’t that sound exotic and indulgent? It’s an Italian dessert that means “cooked cream”. 

So if you’ve never made panna cotta before, I have great news for you: it’s really easy. But that’s not the reason to make it. It’s delicious. Now that’s why to make it.

You have to think ahead because this has to chill to set up for serving. Other than that, no special tools, no tricky techniques.

You can go fancy and serve with macerated berries, or tip it out of the ramekin onto a bed of caramel, or just scoop it out of the dish as is. All good.

It’s a year-round kind of dessert based on how you pair it up. But looks really glam and light for the spring.

Something to watch for it your gelatin. Make sure every little grain is moistened. For me, I needed to add a bit more than the Tablespoon of cold water called for. But put the water into a shallow dish (more surface area is good here, so think saucer versus bowl). Put the water in and then sprinkle with the gelatin. If it looks too dry sprinkle a bit more water on. Then let it be while you heat up the cream. Gently warm it up with the sugar until all the sugar is dissolved. No pesky thermometers or tricky consistency to look for.

Yes, I’m a cheapskate, so no vanilla bean on hand. I just stirred in a healthy tablespoon of vanilla extract after taking it off the heat.

Mmmmmm, the wait was worth it. A light slightly jiggly pudding that finishes any meal with elegance. 

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