I love panna cotta. Not only because I love any desserts involving milk, I also love it because it's so quick and easy to make and always looks impressive.
If you don't have to worry about calories and want a really rich and creamy panna cotta you can substitute some or all of the half-and-half for heavy cream.
Panna Cotta with Berry Coulis
4 cups (1l) half-and-half
1/2 cup (100g) sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
2 packets powdered gelatin (about 4 1/2 teaspoons)
6 tablespoons (90ml) cold water
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (or any kind of berries you like)
1 tbsp lemon juice
½ cup sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
Warm the half-and-half and sugar in a saucepan over low heat. Stir constantly and make sure the cream doesn't boil (this is very important). Once the sugar has dissolved, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Lightly oil eight 5oz. custard cups with a neutral-tasting oil (or you can just put them in a pretty serving bowl like I did and not have to worry about unmolding them later). Put the cold water in a medium bowl and sprinkle the gelatin evenly over it. Let stand 5-10 minutes. Pour the warm cream over the gelatin and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Divide the Panna Cotta mixture into the prepared cups and let cool. Once cool chill in the refrigerator until firm (about 2 hours).
The coulis should be prepared right before serving the Panna Cotta, the warm sauce goes really nicely with the cold cream. Place the blueberries, lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. I like to add a tablespoon of water to help the process but this isn't necessary. When the sugar dissolves completely, taste the sauce and decide if it needs more sugar. I like mine to be more tart so I put less sugar. Make a slurry by stirring the cornstarch into 2 teaspoons of water then add it slowly to the simmering coulis, stirring to thicken.
Run a sharp knife around the edge of each Panna Cotta and unmold each onto a serving plate, and top with a serving of the warm coulis.
Panna cotta recipe adapted from: David Lebovitz