Monday, June 20, 2011

Panna Cotta

Last year for my 24th birthday (I should note that I am 25 in my own mind. Technically, this took place 7 years ago), Josh surprised me with a cooking class at the Sur La Table kitchen store. A class regarding Italian Desserts. It was a life-changing evening. We were served 6 desserts and it was perfectly acceptable (and pretty much required) to eat them all. And a smart move on Josh's part, because I learned to make a dessert that has become his favorite. 
Panna Cotta is italian for "cooked cream", and you would never guess something so simple would taste so good. 

Panna Cotta
Serves 8 

4 cups whipping cream
1 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, or 2 tsp. vanilla extract (I bought some vanilla beans from the website for a reasonable price-7 beans for $10 and they shipped really quick)

2 packets gelatin
6 Tablespoons cold water

Fruit of your choice, for serving (I really like berries with this)

In a large saucepan, pour the whipping cream. Add the vanilla (if using a bean, scrape out the seeds and add them with the pod into the pot) and the sugar. Heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. 
Meanwhile, pour the water into a small saucepan. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water in a thin layer, and let sit 5-10 minutes to soften. When the cream is ready (hot and sugar is dissolved), remove from the heat, and start heating the small saucepan with the gelatin on very low heat. Stir with a spoon as gelatin melts into a smooth consistency. Don't let it boil-as soon as you have a smooth mixture, pour the gelatin into the cream. (If you have any lumps, just pour it over a strainer)
Pour the cream into your serving dishes (the smaller your dish, the quicker it sets up-if you pour the entire batch into one big serving dish, it might take as long as overnight to fully set up)
Cover the dishes with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 3-4 hours. *When we had this at the class, there wasn't time to allow them to fully set up-they were a soft pudding consistency, and tasted just as good.


  1. I made this exact recipe for Zach on Fathers Day. Yum! We had it with a fresh mango coulis and berries on top. Have you made any buttermilk panna cotta or coconut? I'm wanting to try some variations although this version really is amazing

  2. Oooh! That sounds so good! I have never tried a variation, although those both sound delish-I've also seen a recipe for a chocolate version.