Creamy, rich, low carb vanilla bean panna cotta with a tart-sweet sugar-free cranberry sauce. An elegant dessert any time of year.
The holidays may be over, but as far as I am concerned cranberries are always in season. You don’t see fresh cranberries in grocery stores year round the way you might see strawberries or blueberries. But there are ways around that if you are a true cranberry-lover such as I am. I buy an extra few bags throughout the holiday season and sock them away in my freezer. Unlike other, softer berries, cranberries survive for months in the freezer virtually unchanged so you can enjoy them all year long. Once thawed, they are as good as fresh, and they don’t get mushy or mealy. I think I may even have a bag of cranberries in my freezer from Christmas 2012! Hi, I am Carolyn and I am a cranberry hoarder.
Admittedly, I did actually create this recipe for the holidays but I would happily make it again any time of year. The panna cotta tastes like vanilla ice cream and the cranberry sauce has just the right amount of tartness to cut the sweetness of the dessert. I even went out a few days before Christmas to purchase the little tasting-size dessert cups, because I wanted to serve it alongside a large tray of Christmas cookies, so that we could all have a little of everything. It was just the right amount.
This Christmas was perhaps one of the best in my recollection because it was relaxed and happy and easy. The lead up to it was as hectic and crazed as usual, but when Christmas Eve rolled around, we all just seemed to shrug off the stress and truly enjoy our time together. Because so many dishes were made in advance, including the panna cotta, I could focus on my family and my guests. My father and his wife were here and some good friends and their kids joined us for Christmas Dinner. The chat, the laughter and the wine flowed easily and comfortably and everyone was happy. I felt truly blessed. What more could we ask for?
You don’t absolutely need real vanilla beans to make this panna cotta, but if you can get some, it gives that lovely vanilla seed-speckled appearance. If you forego the vanilla beans, add another 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract.