Blueberries are early this year, as were strawberries, raspberries, and just about everything else. The harvest is two weeks early, thanks to a early start to what has been, so far, an exceptionally splendid summer in Québec. The past two summers have been cold and rainy, so this year’s bounty of sunshine and popcorn clouds has been warmly welcome.
It’s really inspired our cooking. This year has been our first real marathon of seasonal summer suppers: fried squash blossoms stuffed with ricotta and basil, gazpacho, cantaloupe soup, corn this and corn that – we can’t cook enough of what’s fresh.
This panna cotta is just what the season is asking for– a soft linen shirt of a dessert that requires more refrigeration than stove time. Be sure to use the smallest wild blueberries you can find – they’re sweeter and more ‘blue’ tasting than the larger ones you often see.
Wild Blueberry and Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta
from the Williams Sonoma Cooking from the Farmers’ Market cookbook
2 ½ tsp. unflavoured gelatin (1 package)
¼ C whole milk
2 C heavy cream
¼ C sugar
1 vanilla bean
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 C wild blueberries
In a bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the milk. Let stand for about 2 min. In a saucepan over medium heat, stir together the cream and sugar. Using a small knife, split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Scrape the seeds into the cream and add the pod. Heat, stirring, until small bubbles appear around the edges of the pan. Let cool briefly.
Remove the vanilla bean. Slowly add the warm cream to the gelatin mixture, stirring constantly until dissolved. Stir in the vanilla extract and blueberries and then pour into four ramekins. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours, or overnight.
If desired, tun a thin knife around the inside of each ramekin, and invert onto a dessert plate.