Panna Cotta is italian for "cooked cream", and you would never guess something so simple would taste so good.
4 cups whipping cream
1 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, or 2 tsp. vanilla extract (I bought some vanilla beans from the website olivenation.com for a reasonable price-7 beans for $10 and they shipped really quick)
2 packets gelatin
6 Tablespoons cold water
Fruit of your choice, for serving (I really like berries with this)
In a large saucepan, pour the whipping cream. Add the vanilla (if using a bean, scrape out the seeds and add them with the pod into the pot) and the sugar. Heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
Meanwhile, pour the water into a small saucepan. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water in a thin layer, and let sit 5-10 minutes to soften. When the cream is ready (hot and sugar is dissolved), remove from the heat, and start heating the small saucepan with the gelatin on very low heat. Stir with a spoon as gelatin melts into a smooth consistency. Don't let it boil-as soon as you have a smooth mixture, pour the gelatin into the cream. (If you have any lumps, just pour it over a strainer)
Pour the cream into your serving dishes (the smaller your dish, the quicker it sets up-if you pour the entire batch into one big serving dish, it might take as long as overnight to fully set up)
Cover the dishes with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 3-4 hours. *When we had this at the class, there wasn't time to allow them to fully set up-they were a soft pudding consistency, and tasted just as good.