Peaches are practically perfect this time of year, so why drown them in sugar or smother them with pastry? Step away from the oven and serve them fresh on top of a bed of lightly sweetened cream and milk gently set with a little gelatin. Just whisk together the ingredients in the morning, chill and it's ready to enjoy by dinner time.
1 1/2 tbsp cold water
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 packet (2 tsp) gelatin
2 cups whipping cream
1 cup whole milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2cups fresh raspberries
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp sugar
2 ripe peaches
Place the cold water and vanilla extract in a small bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin on top and set aside to soften.
Heat the whipping cream and 1/3 cup sugar in a pot over high heat, stirring constantly until almost boiling. Remove from heat, scrape in the gelatin and whisk until it has completely dissolved. Whisk in the milk.
Pour the mixture into 6-8 small ramekins or glass jars leaving a couple inches at the top for the peaches and raspberry sauce. If you plan on unmolding the panna cotta before serving, lightly grease the dishes with canola oil before filling them. Place the panna cotta in the fridge to chill until softly set. Depending on the size of the ramekin, it will take 5 hours to overnight.
Stir together the raspberries and 1/4 cup of sugar in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat for a minute, then stir until the raspberries release their juices and come apart. Taste the sauce and add the additional tablespoon of sugar if necessary (you might need more if the raspberries are particularly tart) and heat for another minute to incorporate the sugar.
Use a spoon to push the raspberries through a sieve to extract the juice. (You can save the pulp to add to smoothies or spread on toast.) Chill the raspberry juice in the fridge until the panna cotta has set.
To serve, divide the raspberry juice between the ramekins, slice or dice the peaches and arrange on top of the juice. Serve immediately.
If you are unmolding your panna cotta before serving, dip the bottom of the ramekins in hot water for 30 seconds and run a thin knife around the edge to help it release. Place a plate on top of the ramekin and flip it over to pop out the panna cotta. Pour the raspberry juice around the base and top with peaches.
Stephanie Eddy, who writes about her baking exploits at clockworklemon.com, lives in Calgary.