Panna cotta is a timeless Italian dessert that has enchanted taste buds around the world. With its velvety texture and delicate flavors, this delicious treat is a symbol of culinary finesse.
Panna cotta, which means “cooked cream” in Italian, is a classic dessert that captures the essence of simplicity while providing a luxurious experience for the palate.
Originating in the Piedmont region of northern Italy, panna cotta has a history that dates back centuries. This mouthwatering dessert gained popularity throughout Italy and eventually found its way to the hearts and tables of food lovers around the world.
The delicate balance of cream, sugar, and gelatin results in a silky-smooth custard that quivers delicately on the plate. We will delve into the art of using gelatin properly to ensure that your panna cotta is perfectly set without being overly firm.
We will also explore the endless possibilities for flavor combinations and accompaniments. From timeless classics like vanilla bean and fresh raspberries to more adventurous pairings like lavender and honey, panna cotta allows for creative exploration.
In this recipe, you’ll learn how to serve panna cotta in glass goblets to show off the different layers. The angled decoration makes this dessert very visual.
Join us on this gastronomic adventure as we unlock the secrets to creating the best panna cotta recipe!
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- Prep Time: 15 Min + chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of 6 hours
- Cook Time: 15 Min
- Servings: 4
Doses for 4 everyday drinking glasses of 150 ml (5 ounces)
For the Panna Cotta
- 500 ml (2 cups) of fresh heavy whipping cream
- 60 g (4 3/4 tablespoons) of granulated sugar
- 1 vanilla bean. Alternatively, 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract
- 8 g of gelatin sheets (4 sheets). Alternatively, 20 g (2 1/4 tablespoons) of agar agar powder
- 50 ml (~3 1/2 tablespoons) of cold water
For the Dressing
- 250 g (9 oz) of fresh raspberries
- 60 g (4 3/4 tablespoons) of granulated sugar
- the juice of 1 lemon
How to Make Panna Cotta Recipe: Instructions
Step 1) – If you choose to use gelatin sheets, you will need to soak them in water to soften them before using them in your recipe. So, soak 8 g of gelatin sheets (4 sheets) in a bowl of cold water for about 10 to 15 minutes. While the gelatin is softening, pour 500 ml (2 cups) of fresh heavy cream into a small saucepan.
Step 2) – If, like us, you have chosen 1 vanilla bean, you will need to cut it lengthwise. Remove the seeds by scraping them out with the tip of a knife and add them to the whipping cream. Or add 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract directly to the cream.
Step 3) – Finally, add 60 g (4 3/4 tablespoons) of granulated sugar. Stir and cook over low heat – without boiling – for about 10 to 15 minutes. Then turn off the heat and remove the vanilla bean.
Step 4) – Pour the cream into a bowl and add the gelatin. If you used gelatin sheets, drain them and squeeze them lightly and gently with your hands. Dip them into the bowl of hot cream. Stir with a whisk until the gelatin is completely dissolved.
The panna cotta is almost done! All that remains is to pour the cream into glasses or cups and let it cool.
Let’s see how to do it!
How to Serve Panna Cotta
You can serve the panna cotta in classic single serving panna cotta molds. Pour the warm panna cotta into the molds and allow to cool to room temperature. Then chill for at least 6 hours in the refrigerator.
Now we are going to suggest a very simple, elegant and refined way to serve panna cotta that will amaze your guests!
Step 5) – Take four everyday drinking glasses and moisten them with cold water, then drain them. Place them in a bowl with a rolled up sheet in the middle. Place the glasses so that they are at an oblique angle. Pour the panna cotta into the glasses. Allow to cool to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.
After this cooling time, the panna cotta is ready to enjoy!
Next, learn how to make a delicious raspberry sauce to top the panna cotta!
How to Make Raspberry Sauce for Panna Cotta
You can serve panna cotta without a sauce, because it’s great on its own! But panna cotta is usually served with a fruit sauce, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, or other even fancier sauces. In the paragraph below, we will cover some of these accompaniments.
For this recipe, however, we will explain how to make the classic raspberry sauce for panna cotta.
Step 1) – Place 250 g (9 oz) of fresh raspberries in a food processor. Then add 60 g (4 3/4 tablespoons) of granulated sugar. Finally add the juice of 1 lemon. Blend until you have a fairly smooth sauce.
Step 2) – Using a strainer, strain the raspberry sauce. Then place it in a small saucepan and cook over very low heat until the sugar has dissolved (about 5 minutes).
Step 3) – You can store the raspberry sauce in the refrigerator. Before serving, place the raspberry sauce on top of the panna cotta. Add a couple of whole raspberries as decoration and serve.
How to Store Panna Cotta
After preparing the Panna cotta, let it cool completely at room temperature. This will help it set properly before refrigeration.
Once the Panna cotta has cooled down place it in the refrigerator to chill and set further. The Panna cotta needs to be refrigerated for at least 6 hours or overnight to achieve a firm and creamy consistency.
Panna cotta is best consumed within 2-3 days of preparation for optimal taste and texture. Over time, it may lose its freshness and start to separate.
Remember, Panna cotta is a delicate dessert, so handle it with care when storing and transporting to preserve its shape and smoothness.
Panna Cotta Variations
Panna cotta is an Italian dessert made with heavy whipping cream, sugar, and gelatin, then flavored with vanilla or other flavors. It’s a versatile dessert that can be modified in many ways to create delicious variations. Here are a few variations of panna cotta:
- CHOCOLATE: This is the traditional panna cotta recipe where dark or milk chocolate is added during preparation. The result is a creamy and rich dessert with a chocolate flavor.
- MINT: In this variation, mint extract is added to the basic recipe. It can be served with a chocolate sauce for a refreshing contrast of flavors.
- COFFEE: In this version, the panna cotta is flavored with espresso or instant coffee. An ideal dessert for coffee lovers.
- LEMON: Adding lemon zest and juice to the basic recipe creates a fresh, slightly tart panna cotta perfect for the summer months.
- LAVENDER: For a floral twist, lavender flowers are added to the cream. This gives the panna cotta a unique and delicate flavor.
- COCONUT: This version replaces some of the cream with coconut milk, giving the panna cotta a tropical flavor.
There are several variations of the sauce that accompanies panna cotta. Let’s look at a few of them:
- BERRIES: A fresh, fruity sauce made with a mix of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. It can be sweetened with sugar or honey and is perfect for balancing the sweetness of panna cotta.
- CHOCOLATE: A creamy, smooth sauce made with melted dark or milk chocolate. Add a touch of butter to make the sauce even smoother and more indulgent. Chocolate Sauce pairs perfectly with panna cotta for an irresistible combination.
- SALTED CARAMEL: A rich and luxurious sauce that combines the sweetness of caramel with a hint of salt. The sweetness of the caramel blends harmoniously with the delicacy of the panna cotta, while the salt adds a contrasting note for a balanced flavor experience.
- TROPICAL FRUIT: An exotic salsa made with tropical fruits such as mango, pineapple or papaya. The sauce is slightly tart and rich in flavor, adding a fresh and vibrant touch to panna cotta.
- COFFEE: An aromatic sauce made with strong coffee or espresso. The intense flavor of coffee pairs well with the delicate sweetness of panna cotta, creating a combination that will delight coffee lovers.
- EXOTIC FRUIT: A vibrant and colorful salsa made with exotic fruits such as kiwi, maracuja or passion fruit. This sauce brings a fresh touch and unique flavor to panna cotta, creating a tasty contrast.
Panna Cotta History
Panna cotta, whose name in Italian literally means “cooked cream”, is a popular Italian dessert known throughout the world. Although its exact origins are somewhat nebulous, it’s commonly associated with the Piedmont region in northern Italy, where it’s said to have originated in the 19th century.
According to the most popular legend, panna cotta was supposedly invented by a woman of Hungarian origin who worked for a noble family in Piedmont. She allegedly used cream, abundant in that area, to create a simple but tasty dessert that could be stored for several days.
Over time, panna cotta has spread beyond Italian borders, winning over palates around the world because of its simplicity and versatility. Despite its humble origins, today you can find this dessert on the menus of the finest restaurants, a testament to its timeless popularity.