Panna Cotta (Italian for “cooked cream”) is a delectable Italian dessert of sweetened cream thickened with gelatin and traditionally molded into a savory sandcastle or served in a glass. The cream may be aromatized with rum, coffee, vanilla, or other flavorings and be topped with fruit, chocolate, nuts, and more. There are many ways to make different types of Panna Cotta, but first…
A little history lesson:
Panna Cotta is a traditional dessert of the northern Italian region of Piedmont. One story says a Hungarian woman invented it in the early 1900s. Further back, an 1879 dictionary mentions a dish called latte inglese or ‘English milk.’
Panna Cotta is one of the most popular Italian desserts and is relatively easy to make. It is a nutrient-rich treat for any time of year, with healthy fats, skin-healthy gelatin, and a hint of vanilla. The following Panna Cotta recipes put a unique twist on an Italian classic and make a delicious way to end a meal. Bon appetit!
Now Let’s Get Creative
- Panna Cotta with Berries – This version features fresh berries in a berry sauce making it perfect on a hot summer day. With only five ingredients (gelatin, vanilla, cream, powdered sugar, and coulis or Red fruit) and takes 40 minutes to prepare, this dessert is great for when you don’t have a lot of time to devote to making something delicious.
- Coffee Panna Cotta – Perfect for a sunset or morning sunrise, this version calls for coffee beans, whipped cream, milk, sugar, vanilla, gelatin, cocoa powder, and coffee liquor. Nothing like roasted coffee beans to help you wake and bake!
- Avocado Panna Cotta – This version would have been a Dr. Seuss favorite; imagine green Panna Cotta and ham! Made with all the same ingredients as a traditional Panna Cotta plus lime juice and has avocados. Add pistachios for an additional punch of color and flavor.
- Honey-Saffron Panna Cotta – This is a Middle Eastern version, the saffron imparts a sunny color; toasted almonds, honey, and lemon zest round out the exotic flavor. You can also add a side of Halvah, a traditional Middle Eastern honey sesame candy.
- Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Brandied Citrus Sauce – The light tang of buttermilk gives this custard style Panna a complex flavor that stands up to the brandy-spiked citrus sauce. Don’t worry; it’s safe to Panna Cotta and drive.
- Maple Carrot Panna Cotta – This simple version is elegant enough to serve to guests, but easy enough to whip up on a weeknight. Chill the mixture in a variety of small, pretty unmatched glasses for a rustic look and feel. Now that’s Italian!
- Toffee Panna Cotta – Great for the holidays, or any days, this version features warm flavors of eggnog, toasted walnuts, and a sweet toffee topping. Is your mouth watering yet?
- Panna Cotta with Roasted Grapes – Adding roasted grapes gives this dish a hint of fruity flavor and makes for an appealing presentation. Not to mention grapes are symbolic of Italian wine and country.
- Yogurt Panna Cotta with Pineapple Granita – Greek yogurt and nonfat sour cream makes this version luxuriously creamy, yet still low in fat and calories. Go ahead, you can have seconds!
- Coconut Milk Panna Cotta – This dairy-free version, paired with grass-fed gelatin, may promote digestion and skin health, so you can feel good about serving this naturally sweetened treat to your sweetie.
- Key Lime Pie Panna Cotta – Dessert never tasted so good! This Panna is made with lime and finished off with crunchy graham crackers.
Well, there you have it, now go forth and make Panna Cotta love.