I've previously shared my love of panna cotta. It's a fairly new dessert to me and I just love it! I recently purchased Ina Garten's (Barefoot Contessa) new cookbook, Cooking for Jeffrey. Imagine my delight when it had this recipe for a panna cotta flavored with dark rum. We were hosting another couple for dinner and I'd been ruminating about what dessert to make. Problem solved! Cold, silky panna cotta paired with warm, salty caramel. Sounds like a great fall dessert to me!
Panna cotta looks impressive but it is so easy to make. What I especially like is that it needs to be made ahead of time. That is one less last-minute detail to attend to when hosting a dinner!
Oh, this panna cotta is soooooo good! The combination of the sweet and salty, cold and hot is just fantastic!
Vanilla Rum Panna Cotta with Salted Caramel
2 teaspoons (1 packet) unflavored gelatin (such as Knox)
3 cups heavy cream, divided
2 cups plain whole-milk yogurt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup good caramel sauce
Fleur de sel (sea salt)
In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin on 3 tablespoons of cold water. Stir and set aside for 10 minutes to allow the gelatin to dissolve.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups of the cream, the yogurt, vanilla extract, and vanilla seeds. Heat the remaining 1 1/2 cups of cream and the sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Off the heat, stir the softened gelatin mixture into the hot cream until dissolved. Pour the hot cream-gelatin mixture into the cream-yogurt mixture and stir in 3 tablespoons of rum. Pour into 8 serving glasses and refrigerate uncovered until cold. When the panna cottas are thoroughly chilled, cover with plastic wrap and allow to chill overnight.
Before serving, heat the caramel sauce with 2 teaspoons of rum in a small bowl in the microwave or a small saucepan set over low heat, just until warm. Spoon a thin layer of warm caramel on each cold panna cotta, sprinkle with fleur de sel, and serve.
Don't throw away your used vanilla bean! I keep a canister of sugar on my counter, adding used vanilla beans and additional sugar as time goes by. The result is a lovely vanilla-flavored sugar that enhances all my baking!