For the panna cotta: In a mixing bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 1/2 cup of the almond milk. Allow the gelatin to soften, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the remaining almond milk, heavy cream, blanched almonds and sugar. Whisk the mixture to dissolve the sugar while bringing it to a simmer. Remove from the heat, cover with a lid and allow to steep for 15 minutes. Strain out the almonds and return the mixture to the saucepan. Return the saucepan to the stove and bring to a simmer. Whisk in the gelatin mixture, remove from the heat and divide among six 6-ounce ramekins. Refrigerate until set, at least 5 hours.
For the cherry compote: While the panna cotta sets, combine the cherries, cherry preserves, sugar, balsamic vinegar and 1/2 cup water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, and then reduce to medium-high heat and continue to boil until the mixture becomes syrupy, about 18 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool (it will continue to thicken as it cools). Cover and chill until ready to serve. If desired, unmold the panna cotta. Serve with the cherry compote either on top or alongside.
Recipe courtesy of Kelsey Nixon