Whenever I see Panna Cotta of any kind on a menu, it’s always my go-to dessert. I love the creamy, light taste and watching it wobble on the plate, but I’ve never tried to make one myself, until this weekend.
In the Christmas sales last year I bought myself Dariole Moulds with every intention of taking a bash at Panna Cotta, but I never seemed to get round to it. With it coming up to a year since I bought them, I decided enough was enough – they were getting used!
They worked beautifully, creating the perfect shape and size for individual portions and were really easy to clean. They only cost £6.99 for four so if you do fancy your luck with a Panna Cotta, these are definitely worth purchasing, but you can use ramekins or set them in nice glasses if you like.
I searched around for a straightforward recipe and doubled the quantities to make enough for 6 to 8 people as I was using my family as guinea pigs for this experiment! The thing I was most afraid of was using gelatine, which I never work with. I’ve made cheesecakes before, but I never add gelatine and just allow them to set overnight, so I was a bit terrified of getting it wrong, especially as I was changing the original recipe.
Turns out, I didn’t need to panic. The recipe is extremely straightforward and gelatine very easy to incorporate, so I’m sharing my step by step guide to making a perfect Panna Cotta on your first try! For my first attempt, I’m sticking with a standard vanilla recipe, but I think next time I’ll try adding in some more exciting flavours. These are a really quick and easy dessert to make for Christmas as well because you can make them the day ahead and forget about them!
Vanilla Panna Cotta
Easy | Cook: 10 minutes, plus 5 hours to set | Makes 8
- 6 gelatine leaves (I used Dr. Oetker Platinum Grade)
- 500ml semi-skimmed milk
- 500ml double cream
- 2 vanilla pods
- 50g caster sugar
- Mixed berries and fruit coulis, to serve
- First, get everything ready. Soak the gelatine leaves in a little cold water and set aside.
- Place your moulds or ramekins on a tray so that you can pop them all straight into the fridge once filled – and make sure you have range in your fridge for them!
- Pour the cream, milk and sugar into a pan and place on the hob with the heat off.
- Split the vanilla pod lengthways, then using a knife, scrape the seeds from the inside of the pod. Put the seeds and the split pods into the pan.
- Put the heat on medium-low and warm the mixture through, stirring to break up and spread the seeds, until just simmering, then take off the heat.
- Remove the gelatine from the water, and squeeze out any excess with your hands.
- Add the gelatine to the pan and stir to melt/combine.
- Pour the mixture into a measuring jug so that it is easier to pour – you might need to do this in two batches.
- Divide the mixture among the moulds – I used eight – then place into the fridge for at least 5 hours or ideally overnight.
- When you’re ready to serve, take the Panna Cottas out of the fridge and allow to come to room temperature for a minute or two.
- Turn the moulds upside down onto plates or bowls, then use a blowtorch on the sides and top of the mould to loosen and release the Panna Cotta. If properly set, it won’t melt, but heating the mould will help release it from the sides of the mould and you can gently shake it out onto your serving plate.
- Add a few fresh berries like raspberries, blackberries etc and drizzle over some fruit coulis. You can make your own, but I just used Tesco’s Finest Forest Fruits. Enjoy your perfect Panna Cotta that will impress all your guests!