Panna Cotta with Berry Coulis

My brother made this for us last weekend and it was divine. The light, silky texture and addition of the berries made this Panna Cotta a perfect (and impressive) summer dessert.

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Panna Cotta from The Best Make-Ahead Recipe by Cook’s Illustrated

1 cup whole milk
2 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1 (2-inch) piece vanilla bean, slit lengthwise with a paring knife
3 cups heavy cream
6 tablespoons sugar
pinch of salt

1. Pour the milk into a medium saucepan. Sprinkle the gelatin evenly over the milk and let stand to hydrate, about 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean. Combine the vanilla seeds, vanilla bean pod, and cream together in a large measuring cup; set aside. Set eight 4-ounce ramekins on a baking sheet and set aside. Make a large bowl of ice water using 2 trays ice cubs and 4 cups cold water.

3. Heat the milk and gelatin mixture over high heat, stirring constantly, until the gelation is dissolved and the mixture registers 135 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 1 1/2 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the sugar and salt until dissolved, about 1 minute. Stirring constantly, slowly add the cream and vanilla mixture.

4. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and set the bowl gently into the ice water. Let the mixture chill, stirring frequently, until it has thickened to the consistency of eggnog and registers 50 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 10 minutes. Strain the mixture into a pitcher, then pour it evenly into the ramekins.

5. To store: Cover each ramekin with plastic wrap, making sure that the plastic does not mar the surface of the cream and refrigerate for up to 5 days.

6. To serve: Unwrap the panna cotta and run a paring knife between the custard and the side of the ramekin in 1 smooth stroke. Flip the ramekins upside down onto individual serving plates. Shake the ramekins gently to unmold the panna cotta and lift the ramekin from the plate.

Berry Coulis

12 ounces (2 1/2 to 3 cups) fresh or thawed frozen raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, or sliced strawberries
1/4 cup water, plus extra as needed for serving
5–7 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons juice from 1 lemon

1. Bring the berries, 1/4 cup water, 5 tablespoons of the sugar, and salt to a simmer in a medium nonreactive saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved and the berries are heated through, about 1 minute.

2. Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth, about 20 seconds. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a small bowl, pressing and stirring the puree with a rubber spatula to extract as much seedless puree as possible. Sir in the lemon juice and additional sugar, if desired.

3. To store: Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze in an airtight container for up to 1 month. (If frozen, thaw the coulis overnight in the refrigerator before serving).

4. To serve: Stir the coulis to recombine, adding 1 teaspoon of water at a time as needed to adjust the consistency.

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