I have a panna cotta on my menu in every season. This one is a great summer dessert. It’s not only colorful and refreshing; it’s also healthy and easy to make. As long as the watermelon is ripe, this dessert shouldn’t need any sweetener. If it tastes too tart, add a packet of two of sucralose to the panna cotta in Step 2.
In a small saucepot, mix the gelatin, sugar substitute and salt. Scrape the seeds from the half vanilla bean into the pot with the milk. Stir and let stand for 2–3 minutes. Then heat until simmering (small bubbles will form on the inside walls of the pot) over medium heat, about 1½–2 minutes. Stir until gelatin dissolves. Remove from the heat and let cool for 3–5 minutes.
Pour the mixture into a blender or food processor. Add the yogurt and lemon juice and blend for 20 seconds.
Rinse 4 (1-cup) molds, small custard cups or soufflé dishes with cold water. Pour one-quarter of the yogurt mixture into each mold. Cover the tops with plastic wrap and chill several hours or overnight.
An hour before unmolding the panna cotta, purée the watermelon, lemon juice, water and sugar substitute in a blender. Pour into a pitcher and refrigerate for at least an hour.
To remove the molds, run a sharp knife around the edge of each dish. Dip bottom of mold briefly into pan of hot water. Put the serving bowl on top of the mold, turn over and gently shake to remove.
To serve, place the panna cotta in 4 bowls and pour one-quarter of the watermelon soup around each one. Sprinkle with the honeydew melon and mint.
**The term julienne refers to thin matchstick-like strips.