Try this super-simple, super-creamy, classic Italian dessert, it’s the ideal way to impress guests at your next dinner party.
1. Soak the leaves of gelatine in a little cold water, or follow the pack instructions for softening the powdered gelatine.
2. Combine the milk and cream in a bowl, then pour about a quarter of the mixture into a saucepan over a low heat. Add the vanilla seeds or bean paste. Tip in the sugar and stir until dissolved, then remove from the heat. Squeeze the water from the gelatine sheets and add these to the pan (or add the powdered gelatine). Stir until the gelatine has dissolved, returning the pan to the heat if necessary.
3. Strain the warmed liquid through a sieve into the bowl with the milk and cream (straining the mixture helps remove any undissolved gelatine). Stir. Set the bowl over a second, larger bowl filled with ice and cold water. Leave to cool, stirring occasionally (this helps the vanilla seeds to disperse evenly).
4. When the panna cotta is just starting to set, ladle it into 120ml pudding moulds, then transfer these to the fridge and chill until set. Alternatively, set the panna cottas in shot glasses, martini glasses or other dessert glasses. Dip the outside of the moulds in hot water for a couple of seconds to help loosen the panna cottas, then turn out onto serving plates or bowls and serve.