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Vanilla Panna Cotta Recipe

Vespa's recipes have appeared in "Midwest Living" and "Taste of Home". She belongs to Cook's Recipe Testers for "Cook's Illustrated".

Panna Cotta with Fresh Blueberries

Panna Cotta with Fresh Blueberries

Low-Fat Panna Cotta Recipe

Jackson was 12 years old when he made his first panna cotta. The dinner plates had been cleared away when his mother served the elegant dessert. It was silken, creamy, and delicately scented with rose water. We were blown away. Was Jackson some kind of child prodigy, we wondered?

Then I learned how fast and easy it is to make panna cotta. An Italian dessert whose name literally means "cooked cream," it is straightforward, simple, and elegant. I've since added it to my arsenal and have yet to find a better dessert for company.

Although we love full-fat panna cotta, I often replace half the cream with kefir, plain yogurt, or buttermilk. Not only does it cut the fat and calorie content, but it also makes a light, fresh panna cotta.

You can flavor panna cotta with vanilla, dark rum a la Chef Gordon Ramsey or a liqueur like Grand Marnier. Pour into ramekins, custard cups or, in a pinch, short drinking glasses. Chill for at least two hours and garnish with fresh fruit, berries, chocolate shavings or frosted rose petals. Or drizzle caramel sauce or wild berry sauce over individual servings of panna cotta. You'll have an easy dessert fit for a king: simple, elegant, delicious.

Panna Cotta and Frosted Rose Petals

Panna Cotta and Frosted Rose Petals

Tips

  • Traditional panna cotta is made with heavy cream. We like to replace half of the cream with kefir, yogurt or buttermilk for a light, lower calorie dessert.
  • The cream and yogurt will separate if boiled—just heat to steaming.
  • Flavor panna cotta with our favorite vanilla paste, dark rum or a liqueur such as Grand Marnier.
  • If you don't have vanilla paste, substitute a vanilla bean or vanilla extract.
  • Pour hot panna cotta mixture into ramekins, custard cups or short glasses.
  • For picture-perfect panna cotta, briefly soak ramekins or custard cups in hot water. Panna cotta will easily slide onto the serving plate.
  • Panna cotta is best eaten within a day or two. Texture won't be as creamy after a couple of days in the refrigerator.
Vanilla Panna Cotta and Exotic Wild Berry Sauce

Vanilla Panna Cotta and Exotic Wild Berry Sauce

Vanilla Panna Cotta

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

10 min

5 min

15 min

serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (236 milliliters) heavy cream or half-and-half
  • 1 cup (236 milliliters) plain kefir, yogurt or buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste or liqueur (see tips)
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons powdered, unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 cup cold water

Instructions

  1. Pour cream, yogurt, sugar and salt into a medium saucepan.
  2. Heat over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture is steamy. Do not boil!
  3. While the cream heats, combine unflavored gelatin and cold water in a cup. Set aside for 5–10 minutes.
  4. Stir gelatin mixture and vanilla paste or liqueur into hot cream.
  5. Lightly grease ramekins or dessert dishes with a flavorless vegetable oil such as canola.
  6. Pour panna cotta into dishes and refrigerate at least 2 hours, until set.
  7. To unmold: set dishes in very hot water for a few seconds, until panna cotta easily unmolds. Do not leave in hot water too long or panna cotta will melt.
  8. Garnish individual panna cottas with wild berry sauce, fresh berries or fruit, caramel sauce or chocolate shavings.

Comments

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on January 26, 2014:

Au fait, panna cotta is so easy to make and a great make-ahead dessert for company.

C E Clark from North Texas on January 26, 2014:

I love this and I really should learn to make it from scratch. Your photos make it look so delicious, which I know it is!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 15, 2013:

Hi Suzanne! Of course, that would be great. I'll have to be over to see your new vanilla bean body scrub soon. Sounds just as fabulous as all your DIY recipes. I miss HubPages...we just moved into our new place and this week are headed back to the U.S. for vacation for the next couple of months. Hopefully, after that I can be more active on HP. I can see you're doing great...keep up the good work. It's always nice to hear from you!

Suzanne Ridgeway from Dublin, Ireland on September 15, 2013:

Hi Vespa,

back again as I LOVE this desert so much! Will be linking it to my new vanilla bean body scrub if that is okay? Hope all is good with you!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on July 21, 2013:

Kathryn Stratford, thanks for telling me about the link problem! I'll look into it immediately.

Kathryn from Windsor, Connecticut on July 20, 2013:

Just so you know, two of the links to recipes (Mango Cheesecake and the Blondie one) go to an Amazon product, rather than the actual recipes. I was curious about the cheesecake, so I will manually look for it.

Have a great day!

~ Kathryn

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on June 23, 2013:

Deborah-Diane, this is a great dessert for guests since you it's quick and easy and can be made ahead of time. It's especially delicious with berry sauce! Thanks for your comment.

Deborah-Diane from Orange County, California on June 23, 2013:

I have never tried Panna Cotta, but oh my goodness, it sounds wonderful. Thanks for the great recipe!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on June 17, 2013:

Ishwaryaa, it's always nice to see you! I'm glad you're familiar with panna cotta due to Masterchef Australia. We love that show! And this one is a winner. Hope you enjoy. : ) Thanks for the share, votes, etc.

Ishwaryaa Dhandapani from Chennai, India on June 17, 2013:

An interesting recipe! I am familiar with the name panna cotta thanks to Masterchef Australia. With your easy-to-follow directions and attractive photos, any dessert-lover including me would like to try your exotic recipe. Well-done!

Thanks for SHARING. Useful & Awesome. Voted up & pinned

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on April 21, 2013:

CZCZCZ, I'm glad you enjoyed this recipe and photo. It is a delicious and simple dessert. I hope you can try it sometime. Thanks for your comment!

CZCZCZ from Oregon on April 21, 2013:

Great looking recipe, I like the berry sauce picture at the bottom. This looks amazing and tasty.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on April 21, 2013:

shanmarie, I hope you can try this easy and elegant dessert! Thank you for coming by.

Shannon Henry from Texas on April 21, 2013:

Oh, that sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing. I'll have to make it a point to try that.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on April 21, 2013:

sgbrown, I hope you enjoy this panna cotta! I love that it's so easy but elegant and can be made ahead of time. It's perfect for company. Thanks for your comment--they're always welcome!

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on April 21, 2013:

I have heard of panna cotta before, but didn't really know what it was. This sounds not only delicious but easy too! I am going to enjoy giving this a try. Voted up, useful and sharing! Have a great day! :)

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on March 26, 2013:

MamaKim, Italian desserts are among my favorites, and panna cotta is no exception. I think it's even better with berries. : ) Thanks for all your support!

Sasha Kim on March 26, 2013:

As an Italian... I adore panna cotta and I cannot wait to try your recipe!! Thank you so much for sharing this, voting and pinning!!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on March 14, 2013:

beingwell, I'm glad this inspired you to try panna cotta. It's so easy to make at home; I hope you try it sometime! Thanks for the comment and vote.

beingwell from Bangkok on March 14, 2013:

I just had a one, strawberry flavor yesterday! It's yum! I haven't tried making it, though. You make it sound soo easy. Voting this one up.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on February 19, 2013:

Kathryn Stratford, so nice to meet you! Any friend of Suzie HQ is a friend of mine. : ) I hope you have a chance to try the panna cotta sometime.

Kathryn from Windsor, Connecticut on February 19, 2013:

I have never heard of it, but it looks great! And I love that you have some of those frosted roses on top of one. I actually came here from Susie HQ's page, and I am so glad I did!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on February 14, 2013:

Lindacee, I know what you mean about availability of products. That was always a problem in Peru but with the improved economy over the years, many products are now available that I could only have dreamed in the past. I love all the tropical fruit we have, too. Thanks for your comments and I hope you enjoy the panna cotta!

Linda Chechar from Arizona on February 13, 2013:

We were there for 3 years. I do miss the quality of life, however, I don't miss the lack of available products. Also the quality of most everything was far below what we're used to in the States and the prices were ridiculously high.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on February 13, 2013:

Lindacee, I'm happy you'll be able to try this recipe. In Peru we can get both the powdered and sheet gelatin but I always use the powdered. If you can only buy the sheets, you'll need about 12 grams (about 3 sheets, depending on how they're sold in Uruguay). Soften them in cold water for about 5 minutes. Wring out the sheets, drop them into the warm cream/sugar mixture and stir until dissolved. I didn't know you had lived in Uruguay! How interesting. Do you miss it?

Linda Chechar from Arizona on February 13, 2013:

This is one of my all-time favorite desserts. I didn't realize how easy it is to make. Woohoo! Another one of your delish recipes I need to try. Thanks so much for sharing this one! Just curious--can you get powdered gelatin there or do you have to buy the sheets? That's all I could find when we lived in Uruguay.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on February 12, 2013:

GlimmerTwinFan, I hope you have a chance to try the panna cotta some time!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on February 12, 2013:

DeborahNeyens, I'm happy to have reminded you of an old favorite. I love that it's so easy to prepare, too. Thanks!

Claudia Mitchell on February 12, 2013:

Vespawoolf - Thanks for this. I have never tried panna cotta, but have hear how good it is.

Deborah Neyens from Iowa on February 12, 2013:

We used to make panna cotta all the time, but it kind of fell off the radar. Thanks for the reminder about this old favorite. I think I will make it for Valentine's Day.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on February 11, 2013:

randomcreative, I'm glad you want to give this a try! Panna cotta really is a delicious and simple dessert. Thanks for your comment.

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on February 11, 2013:

I am intrigued and want to give this a try sometime! You make it look easy. Thanks for the great recipe.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on February 11, 2013:

You're welcome btrbell! Thanks for coming over!

Randi Benlulu from Mesa, AZ on February 11, 2013:

This looks great! I will have to try it! Thank you!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on February 11, 2013:

Alocsin, I enjoyed SuzieHQ's Hub about frosting rose petals. It's so easy to do and the results are impressive. They make the panna cotta seem even more special. Thanks for the votes!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on February 11, 2013:

Moonlake, I'm glad you're adding panna cotta to your recipe box. I hope you love it as much as we do! A always, thanks for all your support.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on February 11, 2013:

RajanJolly, it really is easy to make and the payoff comes when you taste it! So creamy and delicious. I hope you have a chance to try it.Thanks for the comment and votes.

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on February 11, 2013:

This looks so exotic and yet sounds delicious. I especially like the rose petals -- never had a desert with that component. Voting this Up and Useful.

moonlake from America on February 10, 2013:

I have never had Panna Cotta. I have to add this to my recipe box. Voted up and more.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on February 10, 2013:

Amazing recipe. I've never tried making this but it does not seem to be too difficult to make. Thanks for sharing.

Voted up and awesome.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on February 10, 2013:

Peggy W, I'm glad you're going to add panna cotta to your dessert repertoire! There aren't many desserts that are easy and elegant. Thanks, as always, for your suport.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on February 10, 2013:

We love Panna Cotta but have never made it. Will be adding it to our dessert offerings from now on. Just read your wild berry sauce recipe and now this. Am getting hungry for something this luscious sounding! Gave you another 5 stars & up and useful votes. Love how you tie all your recipes together!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on February 09, 2013:

Anamika, enjoy! It's so easy and you can vary it so many ways. Thank you for coming by.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on February 09, 2013:

Lemonkerdz, I'm glad you're going to try the panna cotta. We love that it's creamy, delicate and comforting. I hope you enjoy it! Thanks!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on February 09, 2013:

Beth, thank you for the kind words!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on February 09, 2013:

Carol, I'm glad you're going to get set up with ingredients. I love that it's so easy and yet so delicious and satisfying. Enjoy and thanks for all your support!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on February 09, 2013:

Hi Suzanne! I'm glad you approve of the use of your frosted rose petals. The photos really didn't do them justice. I know how much you love everything Italian, so I'm pleased that you enjoyed the recipe. Thanks for all the votes, share and pin!

Anamika S Jain from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India on February 09, 2013:

That looks yummy! I have eaten this dessert by had no much idea of the ingredients or recipe. Thanks for sharing!

lemonkerdz from LIMA, PERU on February 09, 2013:

I have never made panna cotta (hence my vote) but after reading i think i maight have a go at it some time soon. I like the idea of doing a vainilla and just add whatever flavour sauce you fancy.

Thanks

Beth37 on February 09, 2013:

You are so gifted and creative. Thanks for sharing. :)

carol stanley from Arizona on February 09, 2013:

well this sounds easy enough and creamy delicious. Will have to head to the store today. Thanks for sharing this. I am going to vote up+++ and pin in my favorite recipes.

Suzanne Ridgeway from Dublin, Ireland on February 09, 2013:

Hi vespa,

What a great choice to show how to make this Italian classic that I love!

Delighted to have your recipe to make as I know it will be gorgeous. I loved your intro with Jackson. Thanks for all the lovely suggestions, berries I adore all types and their rich coloring looks great with the creamy panna cotta. Thanks so much for linking my rose petals they look fab with this desert!!

All the votes (not funny) sharing and pinned!!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on February 09, 2013:

Vickiw, thank you for the kind words! What I wouldn't do to have a freezer full of berries. : ) I make this dessert often--it's hard to beat fast, easy and elegant. Thank you for all your support.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on February 09, 2013:

DDE, I'm glad you approve!

Vickiw on February 09, 2013:

Oh Vespawoolf, this is one of my favourite desserts too! Love your photo. I have a freezer full of berries, so I should make some of the delicious sauce. I like the way you have cut the richness too - that would also add a more complex taste. Your family must bless the day you started writing these Hubs - bet they eat so well all the time!

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on February 09, 2013:

Awesome choice of recipe, one of my favorite treats.