Vanilla Panna Cotta + Ripe Berries

raspberry vanilla panna cotta

This is a quick post, in line with how quick this recipe is. Panna cotta is the perfect summer dessert. It takes almost no effort to make, minimal preparation, and pairs with almost any fresh ripe summer fruit. You could do peaches, raspberries, cherries, apricots…pretty much anything. I like raspberries the best because they crush up easily and make their own sauce as you spoon up the creamy panna cotta.

I made this dessert in a panic during Stampede when I realized that in between Stampede breakfast hopping, free concerts, Bollywood dancing, and fireworks I had no time to make a fabulous pie or cake for the BBQ that night. Once again, panna cotta saved the day.

raspberry vanilla panna cotta

raspberry vanilla panna cotta

raspberry vanilla panna cotta

So heat up that milk, dissolve that gelatin, go out and enjoy the sun, come back a few hours later to delicious cold and creamy Italian milk pudding.

Perfect Panna Cotta (from David Lebovitz)

Eight servings

You can make them up to two days ahead and keep them well-covered and chilled.

For gelatin-related questions, read my Tips for Using Gelatin. You can find instructions for using sheet gelatin at the end of the recipe.

  • 4 cups (1l) heavy cream (or half-and-half)
  • 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, or 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 2 packets powdered gelatin (about 4 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 6 tablespoons (90ml) cold water

1. Heat the heavy cream and sugar in a saucepan or microwave. Once the sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

(If using a vanilla bean, scrape the seeds from the bean into the cream and add the bean pod. Cover, and let infuse for 30 minutes. Remove the bean then rewarm the mixture before continuing.)

2. Lightly oil eight custard cups with a neutral-tasting oil.

3. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water in a medium-sized bowl and let stand 5 to 10 minutes.

4. Pour the very warm Panna Cotta mixture over the gelatin and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved.

5. Divide the Panna Cotta mixture into the prepared cups, then chill them until firm, which will take at least two hours but I let them stand at least four hours. (Judy told me American refrigerators are colder than European ones. )

If you’re pressed for time, pour the Panna Cotta mixture into wine goblets so you can serve them in the glasses, without unmolding.

6. Run a sharp knife around the edge of each Panna Cotta and unmold each onto a serving plate, and garnish as desired.

To make Panna Cotta with sheet gelatin: Soften 25g (approximately six sheets) in a liter of cold water for 5 to 10 minutes. Wring the sheets out and stir them into the warm Panna Cotta mixture in step # 4, until dissolved.


Baby Steps

This is, the story of a girl…who never imagined her early fascination with EasyBake ovens was a symptom of a life-long obsession with food. I started off small – once I realized my sandbox cookies weren’t as good as my mom’s, I moved on to better things. My mom taught me how to make cookies from the sacred Mrs. Fields cookie book. I was trained early to make the annual pumpkin and apple pies for Thanksgiving dinner. As I grew up I realized I was happiest when I was eating delicious food, with a book in one hand and a fork in the other. I started reading the City Palate magazine for fun. I discovered the Food Network when I was sick with the flu and have been hooked ever since. Things culminated quickly in high school, when I successfully completed my mission to organize a potluck in every single class before I graduated (sadly that accomplishment is probably on par with getting my diploma).

I knew by then I was pretty strange – I wasn’t sure why people weren’t as excited by things like risotto, applewood cheddar, and almond croissants. As an undergrad, the quest for new ways to procrastinate led me to food blogs – both a blessing and a curse. Now I’m part of an awesome food club on campus and have been baking more than ever. So through this blog, I’ll be sharing lots of recipes and restaurant reviews from my adventures in food. My sister K. is a budding photographer and will provide many gratuitous macro shots. Enjoy!

Summer strawberry crostata