Panna Cotta    (Vanilla Jello with Fruit)

1 envelope of unflavored  gelatin (approx. 2 teaspoons)
1/2 cup milk
2 1/2 cups    heavy cream*
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

*Half & half, buttermilk, whole milk, and/or sour cream  may be substituted
for part of the cream.

Any assortment of fresh, seasonal fruit may be served  with panna cotta, but
berries are especially nice. To use other ripe, soft fruits, such as
cherries, peaches or apricots, just remove the stones and peels as necessary
and cut them  into thin slices or bite-size pieces.

In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 1/2 cup milk;  let stand until
the gelatin is softened, about 5 minutes.

In a large saucepan, combine heavy cream and sugar. Add  vanilla extract.
Bring cream  just to a simmer (do not let it boil), whisking occasionally
until sugar has completely  dissolved; remove from heat. Add the softened
gelatin  mixture and whisk to completely dissolve the gelatin.

Strain hot cream mixture into a large glass measuring cup  with a pouring
spout; pour into ramekins or custard cups.  NOTE: Don't skip the straining
step as it removes any bits of undissolved gelatin and insures a nice smooth
dessert. Also, don't let the cream mixture cool before straining.
Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

To unmold and serve, carefully dip bottom of each ramekin  in a baking pan
of hot water briefly. Run a thin knife around edge of each ramekin to
loosen it from the inside of the bowl. Wipe the outside of the mold dry and
place on  individual chilled serving plate (topside down). Invert the
custard onto the plate and  carefully lift off ramekin (shake gently to
release). Garnish with berries or fruit of  your choice.

Makes 4 to 6 servings (depending on size of the custard  cups).

- From Donna Prizgintas, chef and member of F2F, from the F2F Newsletter 6-19-07.