Life itself is the proper binge. — Julia Child
And then there is dessert, another brilliant binge that we all shamelessly enjoy. Even for those who say they don’t like sweets, custard with fresh summer berries is a pleasing dessert for anyone to indulge in. This is exactly what panna cotta is all about. It’s a very simple custard that is made with milk, cream, sugar, and gelatin and it is fairly fool-proof, even for a clumsy person such as myself. The beauty of it is its simplicity — the ingredients are easy to find (though for non-summer seasons, you can opt for other varieties of panna cotta), you can make it ahead of time for a dinner event, and most of the work is taken care of by your refrigerator. Because of the high cream content, this dessert is incredibly rich, silky, and just plain good after a light meal. It’s definitely something to save room for in your stomach.
Summer is a great time to make panna cotta because fresh berries are rightfully in season and can be purchased locally at farmers markets in the U.S. Not only are berries readily available at this time of year, they are also naturally photogenic, delicious, and healthy.
So there you have it. It’s okay to indulge a little sometimes.
Honey-Vanilla Panna Cotta With Berries Recipe
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 tablespoon unflavored powdered gelatin
- 3 cups whipping cream
- 1/4 cup honey
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1.5 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Pinch salt
- 2 cups assorted fresh berries
- Place whole milk in a small bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over. Let stand for 3 to 5 minutes to soften the gelatin. Pour milk/gelatin mixture into a medium saucepan and stir over medium heat just until the gelatin dissolves but the milk does not boil, about 5 minutes.
- Add the whipping cream, honey, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. Stir until the sugar dissolves, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- Using a ladle, pour into 6-8 glasses or bowls so that they are 1/2 full. Cool slightly. Cover with plastic wrap.
- Refrigerate until set, at least 6 hours. Spoon the berries atop the panna cotta and serve (only immediately prior to serving).
- Small bowl
- Medium saucepan
- Assorted glasses (wine, martini, or regular drinking glasses). Alternatively, ramekins or small bowls work fine.
- Plastic wrap (or anything that will cover all containers at once)