Panna Cotta: Quick, Easy, and Delicious Dessert!

panna cotta

I never tried to make Panna Cotta at home until recently, and now wish I’d made the leap a long time ago!  Not the usual gelatin dessert; this dish transports you to fine-dining cuisine. Smooth and creamy but not overly rich; this dish can be eaten with any meal of the day and varied to match your creativity.  Herbs, flavorings, & toppings can change this simple dish easily.

I modified the recipe below, as per usual, depending on what I have in the refrigerator at the time.  I don’t keep whole milk in the house and only had 2 cups of fat-free half and half at my disposal.  I substituted 2 cups of 2 percent milk to add to the half and half.  The panna cotta came out wonderfully, making me question if I’d prefer the enriched version.  Perhaps this substitution merely demonstrates the flexibility of the recipe.  I topped the dessert with home-made blackberry cordial syrup I made last summer using our own blackberries!  A Delicious and Fresh way to endure a cold and snowy winter…

Panna Cotta

1 cup whole milk

1 tblsp unflavored powdered gelatin

3 cups whipping cream

1/3 cup honey

1 tblsp sugar

pinch salt

berries to garnish

Sprinkle gelatin over milk in a cold saucepan.  Allow to sit for 3-5 minutes to soften gelatin.  Stir over medium heat till gelatin dissolves but milk does not boil, about 5 minutes.  Add cream, honey, sugar, and salt.  Stir till sugar dissolves, 5-7 minutes.  Remove from heat and pour into the container of your choice (ramekins, wine glasses, etc)  Chill 6 hours.  Top with fresh fruit to serve.

For those who like almond and don’t particularly like the strong flavor of honey, try this recipe…

Vanilla-Almond Panna Cotta

1 cup almond milk, divided

1 (1/4-ounce) package unflavored gelatin

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup sugar

1/2  tsp plus 1/4 tsp almond extract

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup chocolate fudge syrup for garnish

Pour 1/3 cup almond milk into a small bowl and stir in gelatin.  In medium saucepan stir together the cream, remaining almond milk and sugar.  Bring to boil over medium heat.  Watch carefully not to scorch.

Pour gelatin and almond milk into cream mixture and stir until gelatin is dissolved.  Add 1/2 tsp almond extract and vanilla extract and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and pour into ramekins (or vessel of your choice).

Allow ramekins to cool uncovered.  When cool cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

To serve:  Mix 1/4 tsp almond extract with chocolate fudge syrup (or your preferred topping) and drizzle over the top of the panna cotta.  For a stylish presentation, Cotta may be removed from the ramekin by dipping into hot water briefly and overturned onto plate, then drizzled.  Fresh fruit and mint garnish always dresses up the dish for those wishing to make a beautiful presentation.

Please give Panna Cotta a try.  You will be glad you did.  There are many recipes out there with endless variety to match every palate.  This Simple Pleasure is easy to make and serve, and nearly healthy!  Why not give it a try soon?

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