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How to make Panna Cotta

July 17, 2021

How to make Panna Cotta

6 Comments

Everyone needs a good recipe for Panna Cotta in their recipe box because it is an incredibly easy but elegant dessert that goes well with almost any menu.  Amazingly it is also light, which makes this perfect for those times when you want to impress your guests with a beautiful, luscious dessert that won’t weigh everyone down at the end of a meal.

Panna Cotta is a creamy vanilla custard like dessert topped with a mixed berry compote

What is Panna Cotta?

Panna Cotta literally means “cooked cream” in Italian.  It is a smooth, creamy, and lightly sweet custard like dessert made with cream and gelatin.  The original version of Panna Cotta comes from the Piedmont region of Italy, and it was made with cream, marsala, gelatin, and sugar.  Over the years different versions have been developed and many of them substitute milk for some of the cream to lighten it a bit.  I tried to stay as close as possible to the original.  My recipe uses almost all cream, but you will find that it tastes exceptionally light even though the cream makes it completely decadent.  When I serve this dessert, I am not trying to cut calories but if you want to swap some milk for some of the cream, the result will still be delicious and creamy.

One of the things that you will love about this recipe is that it is versatile.  You can add coffee, almond, lemon, or other extracts to create different flavors.  You can also play with any number of toppings to create a completely different dish.  Panna Cotta is most often served with with fruit, but chocolate and caramel are also popular pairings.  Panna cotta is wonderful on its own, but it also makes a great base for many other flavors.  One of my favorite toppings is a mixed berry compote.  It is lightly sweet, slightly thickened and its bright colors are stunning against the white canvas of the Panna Cotta. 

A bowl of Panna Cotta with a berry compote goes great with a cup of espresso

It will make your life a little easier

I made this many years ago for a bridal luncheon and served it in Martini glasses.  It was a simple but beautiful presentation and the ladies loved it!  I served Panna Cotta because it could be made the day before. This way I could cross one more item off my “to do” list and not have to worry about it on the day to the shower.  This is a huge plus in my book. 

One of my favorite toppings is a mixed berry compote.  It is lightly sweet, slightly thickened and its bright colors are stunning against the white canvas of the Panna Cotta. 

If you are looking for other fabulous dessert recipes you may want to try one of these:

Nonna’s Pineapple Cookies

The Best Tiramisu

Nonna’s Easy Almond Ring

How to Make Panna Cotta

You only need a few ingredients: Gelatin, milk, cream, sugar, and vanilla.

Sprinkle the gelatin over the milk in a small bowl and allow it to dissolve for about two minutes.

In the meantime, add the heavy cream and sugar to a medium saucepan and heat until the sugar is dissolved, and the cream just starts to boil.  Add the milk and gelatin mixture and stir until the gelatin completely dissolves.

Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour into 6 serving dishes and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

A clear bowl of panna cotta set on a silver platter with a cup of espresso

Panna Cotta

Panna Cotta is a creamy Italian custard made with cream and gelatin. If you are looking for something beautiful but simple, this is it! You will find that Panna Cotta is smooth, creamy and lightly sweet. Top with your favorite fruit or syrup for a really special presentation.
5 from 1 vote
Cook Time 15 mins
4 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs 15 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6 servings
Calories 437 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • ¼ Cup Milk
  • 1 Tbsp. Gelatin
  • Cups Heavy Cream
  • Cup Sugar
  • Tsp. Vanilla

Instructions
 

  • Sprinkle the gelatin over the milk and allow it to dissolve for about two minutes.
  • Add the heavy cream and sugar to a medium sauce pan and heat until the sugar is dissolved and the cream just starts to boil. Add the milk and gelatin mixture and stir until the gelatin completely dissolves.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
  • Pour into 6 serving dishes and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Nutrition

Serving: 6gCalories: 437kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 5gFat: 41gSaturated Fat: 25gCholesterol: 150mgSodium: 51mgPotassium: 98mgSugar: 12gVitamin A: 1620IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 84mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Panna Cotta, dessert, pudding, custard
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


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