Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Mixed Berry Compote

THIS is the dessert you’ll make when you care enough to make the very best, but have about five minutes to do so.  I just recently hosted Father’s Day dinner at my house and really wanted to make it special for my own father, my husband, and my brother-in-law.  They say if you finish a meal with a great dessert, your guests will leave happy regardless of what came before.  So with little time on my hands, I decided to make dessert my main focus.  

Panna Cotta is the easiest, most versatile dessert you’ll probably ever make.  It originated in Northern Italy and literally translated means "cooked cream.”  It only needs a couple of ingredients and can be whipped up in about 10 minutes or so and then left in the fridge to set.  The best part is that it can be customized to please the pickiest of eaters, it can even be dairy or gluten free, or vegan.  You can experiment with almond milk, coconut milk, and various flavorings.

I found THIS RECIPE originally by JUDY WITTS via DAVID LEBOVITZ, a trusted source for sweet and scrumptious desserts.  I opted to use a vanilla bean because I love the flavor and the flecks of bean you can see in the cream, but you can easily use vanilla extract if that’s all you have on hand. I topped it with a super quick compote made with blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and some sugar and lemon juice to taste.  I smashed the berries with the back of a fork, combined all the ingredients and heated them on low.  Once it all comes together and thickens slightly, it’s done.  It should take about about 5-10 minutes.  You can add some water while heating to adjust the consistency if needed.  I had the perfect size glass bowls to use, but it would look lovely in a wine glass or mason jar as well.  I definitely will be experimenting with panna cotta this summer so stay tuned for more sweet concoctions.  And don’t forget to let me know what you try, I’d love to hear about it. 

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