Like Tiramisu, Panna Cotta is a traditional Italian dessert found in most 5 star ristorantis. It is one of the most delicate Italian pasticceria you’ll ever taste!
An authentic recipe includes the simple process of lightly simmering fresh cream, milk, sugar and a vanilla pod. It is then set with a touch of gelatin.
Note: some traditional versions of Panna Cotta are made without gelatin, like this one. 🙂
Sounds simple, right? It is! Plus, just one spoonful and you’re in heaven. The taste and texture is so delicate that people will swear you spent days preparing this amazing dessert.
Panna Cotta means ‘cooked cream’. However, the cream is lightly cooked just enough to dissolve the sweetener.
Next, the gelatin (or agar agar) is added. Panna Cotta is then poured into moulds and allowed to set. That’s it, finito!
For a more elegant pasticceria, Panna Cotta can be infused with different aromatic flavors like rum, coffee, cardamom or other favorites.
And as far as creativity, the variations are endless. The delicate crème picks up all flavors. Even a scented geranium will add a distinct elegant flavor.
In addition, the moulds can have an enticing sauce on the bottom that oozes out onto the dish when turned over. Like infused aromas, you can be inspired with sauces like caramel, raspberry rose, decadent mocha, burn orange or Rhubarb Compote!
One last note on impressive pasticcerias: Fanciful moulds can be used to your advantage. There is a world wind of moulds for Panna Cotta such as rose shape, intricate blossoms, and hearts, oval, circular and even shapes of the brain. You can also use ramekins if moulds aren’t available.
And garnishes: Oh my, where does one begin? The basics; mint sprigs, twisted orange, caramelized rose petals, fresh edible flowers, etc. Get the picture!
- 4 cups half and half
- ½ cup fine natural cane sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 6 green cardamom pods, crushed
- 4 ¼ teaspoons agar agar
- 6 tablespoons filtered hot water
- In a saucepan, add half and half and natural cane sugar. Cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat when steam rises from the surface.
- Slice the vanilla bean lengthwise. With the back of a knife, scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds and the crushed cardamom pods (cardamom seeds and all) to the half and half. Cover and allow too steep for 30 minutes.
- Strain the half and half mixture with a fine-mesh strainer. Return to heat and rewarm.
- In a large bowl, add boiling hot water and agar agar. Stir continuously until agar agar is dissolved. Pour the half and half mixture over the agar agar mixture. Gently whisk. Pour the Panna Cotta mixture evenly into ramekins or moulds.
- Chill at least 2 hours or until firm. Serve with rhubarb compote of other preferred topping. Garnish with desired enhancer.
- Agar agar is a non-animal product that comes from Asian seaweed. It has a similar consistency of gelatin but sets more firmly. It is the perfect substitute for vegans or vegetarians! The Japanese name for agar agar is, "kanten".
- If you do not have fresh vanilla bean or cardamom seeds you can use ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract instead. Omit the 30 minute steeping period.
- For a Vegan Panna Cotta, substitute the half and half with rich coconut milk.
More 4 Your Money
Organic Raw Sugar
- Itaja Organic Cane Sugar-10 lbs
- Wholesome Sweeteners, Organic Turbinado Sugar, 24 Oz
- Rapunzel Pure Organic Whole Cane Sugar, 24 Ounce
- Viva Labs Organic Coconut Sugar: Non-GMO, Low-Glycemic Sweetener, 6 lbs Bag
- Indus Organic Green Cardamom Pods, 3 Oz.
- Blue Lily Organics Green Whole Cardamom Pods – 3 Oz Spice Jar
- Simply Organic Cardamom, 2.82 Ounce
- Yankee Traders Whole Organic Vanilla Beans, 4 Ounce
- Yankee Traders Brand, Vanilla Beans, Organic (Whole)- 4 Pods
- NOW Foods Agar Powder, Pure, 2 Ounce Bottle
- Agar Powder 100g(3.53oz) Vegetable Gelatin Dietary Fiber
Panna cotta with vanilla bean: The Fresh Sheet
Nice display of panna cotta: Food, booze and shoes
Vanilla panna cotta with flowers: Geeths Dawath, a Multicuisine Kitchen
Panna cotta with flowers and raspberries: La Bonne Bouche
Panna cotta and raspberries sprinkled with vanilla: Wandering Spice
Panna cotta with pomegranate and lemon: Goat cheese panna cotta via photopin (license)