Panna cotta is the kind of simple but deluxe dessert that never falls out of season or goes out of style. Infinitely adaptable to your favourite flavours (chocolate! Honey! Prosecco!), and to the whims of seasonality, the barely-set cream dessert (panna cotta translates directly as ‘cooked cream’) is simple, elegant, and the perfect finish to a feast all year round.
This version combines the classic flavour of vanilla (blessedly available year-round) with a fresh stone fruit salad dressed with a splash of white balsamic, taking advantage of the wealth of fruit available in Australia in late Summer and early Autumn, but berries, apples, or tropical fruits would be equally perfect matches.
Soak the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water for five minutes, until fully malleable.
Combine sugar, milk, cream, vanilla seeds and vanilla pod in a saucepan over a medium heat and bring to a simmer while stirring constantly. Once boiling, remove from heat and add soaked gelatine, discarding the gelatine water.
Stir until gelatine is completely dissolved, then leave mix to cool for around 40 minutes.
Strain mix into dariole moulds or ramekins, and refrigerate until set (at least two hours).
Prepare the fruit salad just prior to serving by combining cut fruit with vanilla, white balsamic and olive oil in a large bowl. Serve panna cotta by carefully lowering each mould into hot water for a few seconds (taking care not to let any water get in contact with the set panna cotta). Flip each mould onto an individual serving plate, remove mould, then surround the panna cotta with a few spoonfuls of fruit salad.
Garnish with mint leaves and serve.