Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Blueberry Coulis

Well now doesn’t that just sound fancy—Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Blueberry Coulis. We’re stepping it up and putting on our fancy pants over here at The Busty Baker! Sort of..

Until very (very) recently, I had no idea what panna cotta really was. I’d heard of it. I’d seen it around the interwebs. But it just sounded very classy and probably way too complicated to make. So I paid no attention to it, because, hello—I’m lazy. I don’t want to work harder than I have to. (Let's just call it low-key instead of lazy, shall we?) But you want to know a secret? Panna cotta is totally simple. And totally delicious.

Think of it as pudding meets Jello, all dressed up in pearls and a pretty dress. This isn't your lunchbox pudding cup. Smooth and creamy, speckled with vanilla bean seeds, and served up in a fancy glass, it’s an elegant dessert at the end of a meal. And the Blueberry Coulis? Dark and dramatic on top of pure white, it’s the perfect accent to the panna cotta. And no one has to know coulis (pronounced coo-lee) is just a fancy name for blueberry sauce.

I mean really, what sounds more classy and impressive: Panna Cotta with Coulis? Or Vanilla Pudding with Blueberry Sauce? I think we all know which one is more likely to wow and woo.

Both the panna cotta and the coulis can be made ahead of time, so you have plenty of time to pretty yourself up for your Valentine’s date night and enjoy a fabulous dinner, followed by a divine (and totally stress free) dessert!

Feel free to substitute any berry for the blueberries if they're not your flavor of choice.

Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Blueberry Coulis
Adapted from Pastry Affair and Edible Garden
Makes 4 servings

Panna Cotta:
1 (0.25oz) envelope of gelatin
3 tablespoons cold water
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Blueberry Coulis:
1/2 cup frozen or fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Splash of lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

*If you don't have a vanilla bean, increase vanilla extract to 2 teaspoons instead.

1. In small bowl sprinkle gelatin over water and stir to combine; set aside for about 5 minutes to allow gelatin to absorb water.
2. In a medium saucepan over medium low heat, stir together heavy cream, milk, sugar, salt, and vanilla bean seeds and empty vanilla bean pod. Cook until heated through and sugar is completely dissolved. Add gelatin mixture to pan and cook, stirring constantly until gelatin is completely dissolved, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and carefully remove vanilla bean pod.
3. Pour panna cotta into 4 glasses or ramekins. Chill in refrigerator until completely cooled and set, about 4 to 6 hours. While panna cotta is cooling, make blueberry coulis.
4. Place blueberries in a blender and purée until smooth. Transfer to a small saucepan, straining through a fine mesh strainer, if desired. Add sugar and lemon juice, stirring to combine and simmer over medium low heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until mixture has thickened slightly. Transfer to a small bowl and chill in the refrigerator until cooled completely.
5. To assemble, pour a layer of blueberry coulis over panna cotta and serve chilled.
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