The secret of creamy, delicate, and custardy panna cotta is that it’s an easy dessert to make that brings the wow-factor. This Italian dessert presents beautifully, looking as though it takes hours when it takes barely any time at all.
What Goes Into Creamy Italian Panna Cotta?
Panna cotta looks so beautiful, it’s hard not to be dazzled. With only 5 easy ingredients, it takes about 20 minutes plus time for chilling to turn out this stunning epicurean delight.
Made from cream, milk, sugar, gelatin, and vanilla bean, gentle warming, and cooling is the key to your success. Some serve it with fresh fruit garnish while others add aromas of coffee to create a unique twist. Any way you make it, it’s guaranteed to make any meal end on a very special note.
Literally meaning ‘cooked cream’ in Italian, this traditional dessert of sweetened cream and gelatin, panna cotta from Italy’s Piedmont region is a light and wonderfully sweet treat.
Panna cotta looks a lot like a custard but without any of the whipping. This gives you a bit of a fresh whipped cream taste with a special texture akin to custard but in a lighter way.
Yes, there is! While both are cooked puddings, panna cotta is made with cream. Crème brûlée also has that hard caramelized coating on top, made by using a culinary torch on the sugar topping.
Panna cotta doesn’t take much time at all to put together. You can easily make it a few days before you have guests. Setting requires 2 to 4 hours after making it, though any leftovers or prepped-ahead desserts should be consumed before 3 days.
- Low heat is the key to your success with getting the right consistency. You don’t want the milk to boil. Be patient…it won’t take long!
- Don’t let gelatin boil either or else it won’t thicken to the right texture.
- Use a sieve to put it in the jug and don’t stop stirring as it cools!
- After cooling, pour the chilled dessert into your molds to set. You can also choose to serve it in bowls, but popping it out onto a plate from the mold is what makes panna cotta so extraordinary.
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How to Make
Strawberry Panna Cotta
- 1 cup cream
- ¾ cup milk
- 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 vanilla bean
- 2 gelatine leaves, softened in cold water
- 16 ounces strawberries
- Add cream, milk, seeds from the vanilla bean, and sugar to a saucepan and place over low heat.
- Warm gently, make sure the milk doesn’t boil. Remove from heat and stir in gelatin leaves until dissolved.
- Sieve the mixture finely into the jug and let cool at room temperature, stirring all the time.
- Once cool stir one last time, divide among molds and refrigerate for 3 hours.
- To serve, run the molds under warm water for a few seconds, then carefully turn out the panna cottas onto a plate and serve with freshly sliced strawberries.
- You can make any flavor panna cotta by switching the strawberries for any other fruit you have and want to use up.
- Working with gelatin isn't hard, but it's important to let it bloom, which means allowing it to dissolve in liquid. Keep the temperature below 130°F so the gelatin blooms slowly. This stops it from becoming lumpy.
- Grease the molds with nonstick cooking spray to make unmolding easier.