Using a heat-proof bowl or cup (I use a small Pyrex bowl), sprinkle the gelatin over the cool water, and allow it to sit for 3-4 minutes.
In a small saucepan, bring a small amount of water to a simmer and place the bowl of gelatin inside. (Sort of a double-boiler concept)
Allow the cup to sit in the pan of simmering water for about 5 minutes– or until the gelatin has completely dissolved in the water.
Remove the cup from the hot water and allow it to cool to room temperature.
While the gelatin is cooling, prepare your cream concoction as follows:
Combine the cream, sweetener, and vanilla. Beat the cream mixture until it begins to thicken. When you start to see soft peaks forming, add the room temperature gelatin mixture and continue to beat until the cream becomes very stiff.
I like to see spikey little peaks forming– that’s when I usually stop beating. Just don’t beat too long– otherwise you’ll end up with butter!
You’ll want to use the cream right away to frost your cake or pie. Otherwise, the gelatin will set up and it won’t work.
Store the finished dessert in the fridge– it should last for several days without a problem.