Vanilla Panna Cotta
In a small bowl, combine the water and gelatin and let soak about 10 minutes (do not stir). Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat the cream, vanilla bean and sugar to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. As soon as it simmers, turn off the heat and add the gelatin mixture, stirring to dissolve the gelatin. If the gelatin doesn't completely dissolve in 3 minutes, return the mixture to the heat and warm gently until dissolved. Pour the mixture into 6 to 8 ramekins or dessert cups. Chill, uncovered, 2 hours.
Satin Chocolate Sauce: In the top half of a double boiler, combine the 2 chocolates over simmering water. Stir constantly until melted, then whisk in the syrup and water without removing the double boiler from the heat. Whisk until smooth and shiny. The sauce can be made up to 24 hours in advance and refrigerated. To rewarm, stir over low heat or heat in a microwave.
To serve panna cotta, dip the cups in hot water for 10 seconds, then turn the panna cottas out onto dessert plates (or, serve in the cups). Surround each panna cotta with berries and satin chocolate sauce.
Courtesy of Gale Gand, “Butter Sugar Flour Eggs” by Gale Gand, Rick Tramonto, Julia Moskin, Clarkson N. Potter Publishers, 1999