Panna Cotta Recipe

November 16, 2020  |  By Peg Kern
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Panna cotta on a foodie tour of Italy.How did you spend your Valentine’s Day? Did you cook a special dinner or go out to eat? Last year my husband and I were in Florence for Valentine’s Day, which would have been more romantic if we hadn’t also had our two children with us – still, it was Florence, so nothing to complain about! This year we spent it packing for today’s departure (Portugal! You’ll be hearing all about it later this week and next!).

Check out our authentic foodie trips to Italy.

Here is my go-to dessert when I have limited time to dedicate to a meal that I want to make special. It also works for our gluten-free family members, which is a plus, and I imagine you could make it dairy free if you wanted. (I’ve never tried it, but a coconut panna cotta with coconut milk and grated coconut sounds pretty tasty to me.) The only catch: you have to plan a day (or at least several hours) ahead in order for it to cool properly. My favorite way to garnish it is with a fresh fruit coulis, and if I’m feeling really exotic I’ll add a bit of lavender syrup as well!

Cook with us on the Amalfi Coast of Italy.

Peg's Panna Cotta Panna cotta

Serves: 8
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Cook method: Boil


  • 2 1/2 c. heavy cream
  • 1/2 c. half and half
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • vanilla bean
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 2 T cold water

Stirring a pot of cream on the stove.


1. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water in a small saucepan and set aside for a minute.

2. In the meantime, mix the cream, half and half, and sugar in a heavy saucepan and start to heat. Add the seeds from 1/2 a vanilla bean.

3. Heat the gelatin and water until the gelatin dissolves, remove plan from heat.

4. When the cream mixture is just about ready to boil and the sugar is dissolved, add the gelatin mixture and stir thoroughly.

5. Strain the mixture into 8 ramekins and set, uncovered, to cool.

6. When cool, put in refrigerator (covered) for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

7. To plate, set each ramekin one at a time in a small bowl of very hot water for a few seconds. Run a knife around the edge, then invert onto a plate. Serve with berry sauce or chocolate sauce, or fresh fruit.

Check out another panna cotta recipe with a strawberry coulis.

A plate of French macaronsCheck out some of our other favorite dessert recipes:

By Peg Kern

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