Panna Cotta

This dessert was really thought provoking for me. I add vanilla to everything. Vanilla and a ton of sugar. Creme brulee? Gets vanilla. Chocolate cake? Gets vanilla. Apple pie? Gets vanilla.This is light and sweet and perfect and doesn't have any vanilla in it at all. Don't get me wrong, I love vanilla, but in this it was nice to have the sweet cream flavor front and center. It was this that make me realized I really like the flavor of cream. This led to a lifelong root beer cream obsession. Not to be confused with the delicious but inferior root beer float. A root beer cream is perfect.

It's also a super simple dessert to make. Unlike traditional custards that are thickened with eggs, or puddings with cornstarch, this is set with gelatin. It makes it, obviously, a little gelatinous but not overly so. Much like with the sweetness, it's subtle.

This is perfect for spring since it pairs perfectly with fresh berries or in the winter when you are dreaming of them, a few on the top goes a long way. I'm including two different topping recipes for this that I serve on top. I have heard that honey drizzled on top is popular in Italy but I'm not generaly a honey person myself. Except in Raspberry sauce.

One thing I have learned over the years of making this is to make sure that the cream is cooked enough, more than just what it required to melt the gelatin. Not a ton more, but if they aren't cooked together they will separate slightly as they set up and you will have a thin watery layer along with a thicker, more rubbery layer.

2 c. heavy cream
1 c. whole milk
1/2 c. sugar
1 packet knox unflavored gelatin

Sprinkle the gelatin over the milk, stir, and let stand for 5 minutes. 

Add the cream and sugar and cook until simmering. Cook, stirring, for 5 - 6 minutes. Enough to melt the gelatin and cook the cream slightly.

Pour into molds or pretty glass dishes and chill. 

When ready to serve run the bottom of the mold under hot water and invert on a plate or serve in glass dishes. Sometimes when unmolding if you heat the custard too much it will leave a little bit of melted cream on the bottom of your plate, just put it back in the fridge and chill to refirm it up for about 10 minutes if that happens. 

Strawberry Sauce
1 - 2 lb fresh strawberries
1/4 c. sugar
3 Tbsp clear gel
Slice strawberries, toss with sugar and let sit for 30 minutes. Stir in the clear gel and wait 20 minutes before serving. 

Raspberry Sauce
12 oz. fresh raspberries
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. honey

Place all three ingredients in a bowl and mash together with a potato masher or a fork. Serve immediately

Blueberry Sauce
2 1/2 c. fresh blueberries
2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp water
1 tsp clear gel
Place half the blueberries in a large bowl and mash lightly with a fork. I started to use a potato mashed but it mushed the blueberries too much, I like them to only be broken up a bit but not a paste. Add the sugar and remaining blueberries and continue mashing until most of the blueberries are at least somewhat squished. Add the water and lemon juice, stir for a minute and let stand for 10 minutes. Sprinkle the clear gel over the top and stir again for another minute. Let stand for ten minutes and serve.

Original pictures. Post updated 1/6/18

Original pictures. Post updated 1/6/18


  1. That looks like a professionally made panna cotta. Great job and i'm kinda in love with that blueberry sauce.

    1. I had a friend tell me she love blueberry's but not blueberry sauce because she doesn't like them cooked. So fresh it was. And it's less work.

  2. I love a panna cotta, a simple but tasty dessert. I love mine paired with fresh berries too.

    1. Berries and cream are a classic for a reason I say. They pair beautifully.

  3. Great ideas to serve panna cotta with berries. My favourite is the strawberry sauce

  4. This looks and sounds delicious. I have never had this before and need to try it.


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