Panna Cotta

Joined Nov 19, 2001
I have recently become obsessed with Panna Cotta... I've tried every recipe I can find and the best version I've made contained sour cream (see below). This is absolutely my favorite dessert.
Does anyone have a fun variation? Or a cool alternate topping?
You can serve this alone or with the fruit, or drizzle each portion with about 1/2 teaspoon artisan balsamic vinegar or Saba.

Use organic cream if possible and be sure the sour cream contains only cream and culture, no other additives.

- 1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- 3 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar, or more to taste
- Pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup (8-ounce container) sour cream
- Optional Topping: 2 cups pitted fresh cherries, strawberries, raspberries, or sliced peaches or pears or 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons artisan-made balsamic vinegar or 2 to 3 tablespoons Saba syrup or Vin Cotto

1. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water. Let stand for 5 minutes. In a 3-quart saucepan, warm the cream with the sugar, salt, and vanilla over medium-high heat. Do not let it boil. Stir in the gelatin until thoroughly dissolved. Take the cream off the heat and cool about 5 minutes.

2. Put the sour cream in a medium bowl. Gently whisk in the warm cream a little at a time until smooth. Taste for sweetness. It may need another teaspoon of sugar. Rinse 8 2/3 -cup ramekins, custard cups, or coffee cups with cold water. Fill each one three-quarters full with the cream. Chill 4 to 24 hours.

3. To serve, either unmold by packing the molds in hot towels and then turning each out onto a dessert plate, or serve in their containers.
Joined Jan 26, 2002
Atheneus posted some recipes. The most "fun" variation is a panna cotta with garlic. Edible yes. Ath. recipe.
Joined Jan 11, 2002
I can't say it's a "fun" variation...but the original Italian recipe of Panna Cotta it's made with caramel, like a créme caramelle. Coat the mold bottom with hot brown caramel (I usually make the caramel directly into the mold) and when cold add the warm cream as above.

Another variation I love is the Coffee Panna Cotta! I make it adding 1 small cup Expresso and 1 tsp sugar each cup cream before heating it. Since Italian expresso is much stronger compared to American, this mixture it's tasty enough without getting too watery, otherwise you can use freeze-dried coffee like Nescafe.

BTW...we don't have sour cream and obviously don't put it into our Panna Cotta, but this seems to me a wonderful idea! Isn't it a Russian recipe? I can remember something called "Smetana cream", am I right?

Joined Jul 24, 2001
I was waiting for Pongi to answer the thread first :)

Panna cotta as you can assume is for me by far the best desert. The ultimate art in pastries, IMHO of course.
I agree with the topings. Caramel first , coffee second in rate and then the berry sauces...
Of course these are for the original and authentic panna cotta which is only one.ONE . No variations.
That's why I named my attempts breezes .
As for the garlic cream I will post it for St Valentines ;)
Joined Jan 31, 2002
Tangerine Panna Cotta Aria

from Kathryn King

Serves 4

3-1/2 teaspoons Gelatin Powder, divided
9 Tangerines
1-3/4 cups Heavy Cream
1/2 Vanilla Bean
The grated zest from 2 of the Tangerines
1 cup granulated Sugar, divided
1 cup Sour Cream
1/2 cup Water

Panna Cotta:

Sprinkle 2-1/2 teaspoons gelatin over the juice of 2 tangerines to soften.

In small saucepan, heat cream; split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds, adding to the cream along with the bean itself. Add the zest of 2 tangerines and 6 tablespoons sugar to the cream and bring just to a simmer.

Remove from heat. Add the softened gelatin and stir to dissolve. Remove from heat and strain mixture through a fine sieve. Whisk in the sour cream.

Divide evenly into 4 ramekins and chill until set.

For the Candied Tangerine Peel:

Remove and reserve the peels from 6 of the tangerines, avoiding the white, bitter pith. Cut in long, thin strips. Juice the 6 tangerines and set aside 1/2 cup juice (for the topping).

In small saucepan, cover zest with water and bring to a boil. Strain, and repeat this process two more times. After the third straining, add 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water to the pan and simmer with the peel until it is tender -- about 15 minutes.

Remove from heat and let cool in the syrup. When cool, remove to a cooling rack and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar.

For the topping:

Mix remaining 1 teaspoon gelatin with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. Sprinkle over 1/4 cup of the tangerine juice to soften. In small saucepan, gently warm remaining 1/4 cup tangerine juice. Mix in the softened gelatin and stir until dissolved. Pour over the chilled panna cotta and allow to set.


Section the remaining tangerine and place on top of the chilled panna cotta. Garnish with the candied tangerine peel.


Maple Panna Cotta with Cranberry Coulis and Orange Sauce

From Daniel Jasso

Serves 14, if teardrop ring molds are used; 10 (slightly larger) servings if small ramekins are used.

12 0z. (355 ml) Heavy Cream
16 oz. (473 ml) Maple Syrup
20 oz. (591 ml) Milk
2 teaspoons (8 g) Vanilla Extract
1 oz. (28 g) Gelatin Sheets, softened in cold water

Place the 14 teardrop ring molds, 3-1/2" (8.9 cm) long x 1-1/8" (2.8 cm) high, onto a sheet pan, unless you choose to use ramekins.

Combine the cream, maple syrup, milk and vanilla in large saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Raise heat and bring mixture to a simmer; do not allow to boil. Remove from heat.

Drain gelatin and whisk it into the hot cream mixture; strain the mixture into a stainless steel bowl, set over an ice bath, and stir until thickened but not set.

Fill molds or ramekins with the maple panna cotta and refrigerate overnight.

Cranberry Coulis:

20 oz. (591 ml) Water
8 oz. (227 g) Granulated Sugar
12 oz. (340 g) fresh Cranberries

In large non-reactive saucepan, combine water, sugar and cranberries. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.

Purée the cranberry mixture in fool processor. Pass purée through chinois into a clean saucepan. Bring the purée to a boil; skim off the foam. Remove pan from heat and allow mixture to cool. Refrigerate until cold.

Orange Sauce:

2-1/2 tablespoons (19 g) Cornstarch
20 oz. (591 ml) freshly squeezed Orange Juice, strained and divided
4 oz. (113 g) Granulated Sugar
1 tablespoon (15 ml) fresh-squeezed Lemon Juice

In small bowl, dissolve cornstarch in 3 liquid oz. (89 ml) of the orange juice; set aside.

Combine the remaining orange juice, the sugar and the lemon juice in a large non-reactive saucepan. Cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.

Whisk in dissolved cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and continue to cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; allow to cool. Refrigerate until cold.


Unmold a maple panna cotta onto a dessert plate, off-center. Decoratively sauce the plate with cranberry coulis and orange sauce. Add fruit, a candied dried fig, or pulled-sugar flower, if desired.


Panna Cotta with Balsamic Basil Strawberries

Panna Cotta:

1 quart Heavy Cream
4-1/2 oz. 10X (powdered) Sugar
Juice of 1 Lemon
4 oz. White Rum
3 sheets Gelatin, soaked in cold water
2 Lemons, zested
1/2 Vanilla Bean, split

Bring to a boil the heavy cream lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar and vanilla.

Turn off heat. Add rum and gelatin.

Strain, and pour into desired mold. Allow 4-6 hours to properly set up.

Balsamic Syrup:

1 cup Balsamic Vinegar
1 cup Sugar, white granulated
1/2 cup Water
2 pints Strawberries
Chiffonade (very fine strips) of 10 fresh Basil Leaves

Combine balsamic vinegar, sugar and water. Reduce by half and allow to cool. Slice strawberries and toss with the cooled syrup and the chiffonade of basil.
Joined Apr 19, 2001
Has anyone ever made panna cotta with agar-agar instead of the gelatin? I love the dish, would love to make it at home for hubbie and son - who are both vegetarians! Yes, dinnertime is interesting in our household!
Joined May 26, 2001
Sorry, I don't know how to insert a link here to a previous post, but:

if you look on the Cooking Questions board, for the thread Split calf's foot versus gelatin? that Cchiu started on 1/10/02, you might find equivalents for substituting agar-agar for sheet gelatin. You'll probably have to do a little math and/or experimenting. But info there should be helpful.
Joined Apr 19, 2001
Thanks, Suzanne! I'll check it out. Can panna cotta be made without any gelatin at all? Or does it need the gelatin to hold it together?
Joined Jan 11, 2002
Panna Cotta can't be made without gelatine as cream and sugar can't stand up by themselves! Don't know about agar-agar, but commercially available Panna Cottas are made with it, so I suppose you could use it instead of gelatine sheets.
If you don't like gelatin, try with cornstarch (about 1 1/2 tbsp each cup cream)! You will not get a Panna Cotta but a sort of's not the same, but anyway pretty good.

Joined Jul 24, 2001
I am taking the edges again, but you'd better not make pannacotta with corn flour.
I have nice recipes with corn flour. Very nice recipes
Joined Apr 19, 2001
Thanks, Pongi - I'll try the agar-agar, but Atheneus has scared me off the cornstarch idea!
Joined Jan 11, 2002
Well...basically I fully agree with Athenaeus!:)
Personally speaking, I'd never make Panna Cotta with cornstarch, but if you're allergic to gelatin, can't find agar-agar and so on, it's better than'll not get Panna Cotta, but anyway something edible :(

BTW: Athenaeus, Valentine day is coming!
What about garlic Panna Cotta???

Joined Jan 26, 2002
Pongi and V do not understimate the flavored pannacottas . Zcook's recipes are very interesting. Sophisticated as you would say.
Joined Apr 19, 2001
Okay, made panna cotta with agar-agar for Valentine's day last night, and it was great!!!! Some observations, though - Agar-agar takes a lot longer to dissolve than gelatin, so I was left with some little granules (like tapioca) which settled at the bottom. other than that, it was a big hit! Served with raspberries and raspberry sauce, madelines dipped in chocolate, and sweetened chocolate powder dusted on top! Everyone was a member of the 'clean plate club'!

Latest posts

Top Bottom