The intense prune, cognac and caramel notes of the Costa Rica vanilla bean and adding salt to the panna cotta mixture makes the velvety custard taste almost like the best vanilla bean salted caramel
Costa Rica Vanilla Panna Cotta
400ml heavy cream
300ml whole milk
1 Costa Rica vanilla bean, split lengthwise
75g granulated sugar
4 gelatine leaves hydrated in cold water (or 7,5g gelatine powder dissolved in 60ml cold water)
1/2-3/4 tsp. salt, to taste
Heat the heavy cream, whole milk, vanilla seeds and empty bean to just below boiling. Remove the pot from heat and leave to infuse for at least 30 minutes, but overnight is even better for maximum flavour extraction.
Reheat the milk mixture with the sugar while stirring to to fully dissolve. Squeeze excess water from gelatine sheets and add to the hot vanilla cream and stir until gelatine is fully dissolved. Season to taste with salt.
Pour the warm vanilla cream through a mesh sieve into a pouring jug and leave to cool at room temperature for an hour, stirring every once in a while to prevent vanilla seeds from settling at the bottom.
The panna cotta mixture will start to thicken and set slightly, but should still be a pourable consistency. Pour panna cotta mixture into 4-6 silicone moulds or oiled ramekins and leave to set in the fridge, this will take anywhere from 2-4 hours. If using silicone moulds, freeze panna cottas in the freezer for easier unmoulding, then leave to thaw completely on the plates before serving.
The panna cotta is delicious on its own, but it could also be served with stewed prunes, basil-apple salsa, brandied cherries or pear sorbet. Or make the panna cotta with floral and anisey Tahitian vanilla beans and my white peach & tarragon sorbet.