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Easy Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta

Panna cotta is an eggless custard, typically served unmolded. But E. Michael Reidt's vanilla bean panna cotta is as creamy as a creme brulee--so creamy, in fact, that he serves it in ramekins.

Plus: More Dessert Recipes and Tips

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 8

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  • 1 quart heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • Mixed berries, for serving



  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, sugar, vanilla bean and seeds. Bring the mixture just to a simmer over moderate heat. Remove from the heat, cover and let steep for 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let stand until evenly moistened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Uncover the cream mixture and bring just to a simmer over moderately high heat. Remove from heat, add the gelatin and stir until dissolved. Remove the vanilla bean and save for another use. Pour the panna cotta mixture into eight 4-ounce ramekins and let cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the panna cotta is set but still jiggly, at least 3 hours. Serve in the ramekins, with berries.

Make Ahead

The panna cottas can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Contributed By Photo © Victoria Pearson Published May 2007

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