Vegetable oil or olive oil
1 cup whole milk
2 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin*
2 cups heavy cream**
1/2 cup granulated sugar
5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Port-Balsamic Cherries (see recipe below)
* It is always best to measure the the amount of gelatin needed as the envelopes of gelatin can vary.
** Half & half, buttermilk, whole milk, and/or sour cream may be substituted for part of the cream.
Brush six (6) 3/4-cup glass custard cups with oil.
In a medium-size bowl, add milk; sprinkle the gelatin over the milk, and let stand until gelatin is softened, about 5 minutes.
In a large saucepan, combine heavy cream and sugar. Bring cream just to a simmer (do not let it boil), whisking occasionally until sugar has completely dissolved; remove from heat. Add chocolate and whisk until thoroughly melted. Add the softened gelatin mixture and whisk to completely dissolve the gelatin. Add vanilla extract.
Working in two batches, transfer mixture to blender and use only three on/off turns to just fully blend mixture (do not over mix). Divide mixture among custard cups. Cover and chill 24 hours. Can be made two days ahead. Keep chilled.
Prepare Port-Balsamic Cherries. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
To unmold the chilled Panna Cottas and serve, carefully dip bottom of each ramekin in a baking pan of hot water briefly, approximately 1 1/2 minutes. 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).
Spoon prepared Port-Balsamic Cherries sauce over each Panna Cotta and serve.
Makes 6 servings.
1 pound fresh or frozen sweet cherries, stemmed, pitted
3/4 cup Port wine
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons good-quality aged Balsamic Vinegar
If cherries are frozen, let thaw before using.
In a large heavy skillet over high heat, stir together cherries, port wine, sugar, and balsamic vinegar until sugar dissolves. Bring just to a boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer until cherries are soft and wooden spoon leaves a path in the sauce when drawn across bottom of skillet, approximately 15 minutes.
Remove from and heat and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.