Pour ½ cup (125 ml) of the milk into a large bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the milk and let rest for 5 minutes (do not mix—this step allows the gelatin to bloom).
In a saucepan, combine the rest of the milk (½ cup / 125 ml) with the heavy cream, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Set over medium-high heat and stir until you reach a light simmer.
Pour the very hot milk and cream mixture over the gelatin and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved.
Divide the maple panna cotta mixture between 8 small glasses, jars, bowls, or ramekins. Refrigerate at least 4 hours to set. (Do not cover while the maple panna cotta is hot because this will create condensation and the water will fall on the panna cotta when you uncover it.)
SERVING: Right before serving, top panna cotta with your choice of crunchy nuts and fresh fruits, along with an additional drizzle of maple syrup.
STORAGE: Cover cold maple panna cotta with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
MAKE IT DAIRY-FREE: Substitute plant milk and cream for the regular varieties. I like to use a combination of oat milk and soy cream because they both have a smooth flavor that lets maple take center stage, but you can also use coconut cream.
MAKE IT VEGAN: - Substitute plant milk and cream for the regular varieties. I like to use a combination of oat milk and soy cream because they both have a smooth flavor that lets maple take center stage, but you can also use coconut cream.- Substitute 1 teaspoon (5 ml) agar agar for the gelatin. Agar has a stronger setting power than gelatin has, so you don’t need to use as much.- In the method, skip the gelatin blooming step and instead whisk together all the ingredients, including the agar-agar, in a saucepan. Bring to a light simmer while whisking to make sure the agar dissolves properly. Divide between serving glasses and refrigerate as indicated.
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