How to prepare a Vanilla Panna Cotta

Panna cotta desserts decorated with fresh raspberries.
Copyright: alex9500

The panna cotta is a remarkable Italian dessert which means ‘ cooked cream’. It hails from Piedmont in Italy and is often served with a fruit sauce such as a strawberry or raspberry coulis, may be some fresh root and other garnishes. 

One of the main issues is a panna cotta that refuses to set or is too rubbery. Getting the gelatine level correct is the main issue but roughly 3 leaves to 500ml of cream/milk is the best combination. Make sure you follow the gelatine maker’s instructions properly. Boiling gelatine will cause it to lose its gel-like properties unfortunately which is why it is added when the milk/cream mixture has been removed from the heat.  

The addition of fruit is key to using the sweetness and acidity especially to cut through the fat. We would also suggest some fresh passionfruit pulp too but use sparingly as too much fruit will ruin the balance. It’s even better if edible flowers are added too just to make it look good.

Serves 4

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  • 250ml whole fresh milk
  • 3 leaves of gelatine
  • 250ml double cream
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 300g of fresh strawberries, raspberries or both
  • icing sugar to dust
  • raspberry coulis or strawberry coulis (optional)


  1. In a bowl, soak the gelatine leaves in cold water to soften.
  2. Add the milk and double cream to a saucepan.
  3. Split the vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds and add to the milk. Add  the sugar too.
  4. Slowly heat up the mixture. Stir until all the sugar has melted. Allow to reach a simmer and then remove from the heat.
  5. Take the gelatine from the water and squeeze well to remove any water residue.
  6. Add to the saucepan and really mix in well.
  7. Pour the mixture into four ramekins or cups.
  8. Chill for at least four probably five hours.
  9. Take each ramekin and invert a pudding onto a plate. Place strawberries and raspberries on and around the pudding. Lightly dust with icing sugar.
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