Monday, 22 December 2014

Vanilla Panna Cotta with Macerated Strawberries

If there is one dessert that is an absolute must in your repertoire, this is it. Literally translating as 'Cooked Cream', Pannna Cotta is easy, elegant and requires minimal ingredients. What's even better is that this is a dessert that needs to be prepared ahead.
Once you have nailed the basic recipe, there are endless variations that can be brought into the Panna Cotta itself or the accompanying sauce. That said, for a real quick version, you don't even need to whip up a sauce. The dessert goes incredibly well with some simple macerated strawberries and I personally think it looks and tastes better with fresh berries.

The only thing to remember is that while the Panna Cotta should be set enough to be unmoulded, it should still retain a bit of the wobble. We are looking for a smooth, melt in your mouth texture rather than a chewy, jello like one. (I must confess at this point that I rarely unmould a Panna Cotta while serving. I prefer the unmoulded look, not to mention that it saves time.) This undoubtedly is dependent on the gelatin that you are using and it might take a couple of attempts to get the perfect texture.
I have given the quantities for making Panna Cotta with 1 cup of cream for ease of scaling up. This makes just about 3 servings (I divide between 4 shot glasses if it is just the two of us - but that makes small portions.). Do scale up the recipe as needed.


The Panna Cotta:
  1. Cream - 1 cup (I have used a 25% Light Cream as it is the most readily available version here (which also happens to be a perfect fat content for panna cotta.). You can also use a mix of heavy cream and milk to get a similar fat percentage or go for a lighter version with half and half.)
  2. Sugar - 2 tbsp.
  3. Milk - 2 tbsp. 
  4. Gelatin - 3/4 tsp.
  5. Vanilla Extract - 1/2 tsp. or to taste.
The Macerated Strawberries:
  1. Strawberries, washed, cleaned and sliced - 3/4 cup.
  2. Sugar - 3/4 tbsp. 
  3. Lime Juice - A squeeze or two. Adjust after tasting. (Optional. You can also add a bit of orange zest if you would like to.)

The Panna Cotta:
Leave the gelatin to soak in the milk for about ten minutes or until it plumps up well.

After that, combine the cream and sugar together in a sauce pan and heat up. Stir constantly and switch off once it warms well. Do not let the mixture come to a boil and take special care not to scorch the mixture.

Take the sauce pan off the heat, add gelatin and stir well so that the gelatin dissolves completely. Add the vanilla extract and once the mixture cools down, pour it into moulds. (Remove any foam that might be there on top of the mixture with a spoon if you want an even top for the dessert. It is also easier if you pour the Panna Cotta into moulds near your refrigerator so that you won't have to carry it here and there causing spills and splashes inside the top bare portions of moulds.) Keep the moulds covered and set for at least three hours.

The Macerated Strawberries:
Simply combine all the ingredients mentioned and leave it for 30 minutes up to an hour or two. (If you leave them for too much time, the berries will become too limp and might also change colour.) Stir a couple of times in between.

To serve, top the moulds with the berries along with the juices that must be oozing from them by now. If you are unmoulding, dip each mould in hot water for a few seconds, wipe the water off with a clean cloth, invert onto a small plate and then garnish with the berries and their juices.

  1. If you are planning to unmould, metal moulds are the easiest to work with although glass will work fine too.


  1. I love the way u present pannacotta looks like vintage pics.

  2. What lovely photos and a really lovely dish!

  3. Priya, your pictures are beautiful . they make me read the post and go right till the end ..
    I have never tried panacotta .. and guess I have one more new rrecipe to my bucket list.

    1. That's so great a compliment Sandhya. Thank you so very much.

      Do let me know how it turns out for you if you try out the recipe :)

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