Creamy Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta is a traditional dessert from Italy which translates as ‘cooked cream’. Originating from the region of Piedmont, around the 1960’s. Although, some say a Hungarian woman invented it in the early 1900’s. Panna Cotta is a very easy dessert to make and it is ideal for a dinner party as you can make it the day before. Simply put, it is cooked cream using gelatin as a setting agent. If you are a vegetarian you can use agar agar to set your cream mixture instead. Ideally a panna cotta should be just set to the point that it can stand unsupported out of the mold.
Originally, the only liquid used was cream but in modern times, milk has been added as well. This makes it a lighter dessert so a little bit healthier too. The easiest flavor to make is a creamy vanilla bean panna cotta. All you have to do is infuse the vanilla pod into the warm cream mixture, pour into the molds and let it set. I prefer to use a vanilla bean pod as it has a much fresher, punchier flavor than vanilla extract. But, it can be expensive so feel free to use vanilla extract if you want. You can basically try out lots of other flavors as well, such as white chocolate, coffee, caramel, mint, lavender, elderflower and even honey.
When it comes to serving your delicious creamy vanilla bean panna cotta, try it with a strawberry sauce and fresh strawberries. If you would like a more autumnal panna cotta, then add nutmeg, all spice and a splash of rum to the cream mixture or even as a sauce at the end. The options are endless and all of them are yummy. If you like this, why not have a look at our creamy chocolate mousse as well. Enjoy!
Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta
- 250 ml Full Fat Milk
- 250 ml Fresh Cream
- 60 grams Granulated Sugar
- 1 fresh Vanilla Pod
- 3 Gelatine Leaves softened in cold water
- 250 grams Strawberries cleaned and halved
- 50 grams Sugar granulated
- 100 ml Water
- Lemon Juice healthy squeeze
- Put the gelatine leaves into a bowl of cold water. Leave to soften.
- Add the milk, cream and sugar to the saucepan.
- Using a sharp knife, cut the vanilla pod in half and scrape the seeds out. Add the vanilla pod and seeds to the cream mixture.
- Warm the mixture over a low heat. Cook until just before boiling. Remove from the heat.
- Squeeze the extra water out of the gelatine and add it to the cream mixture. Stir until it has dissolved completely.
- Pout the mixture into a jug and leave to cool slightly. Stir every few minutes.
- Pour the mixture into your moulds or ramekins, cover with cling film and leave to set for at least 5 hours but preferably overnight.
- When they are set, they should have a slight wobble to them. Run some warm water around the moulds until they loosen and turn carefully out on to a plate or bowl.
- For the sauce, place the strawberries, water, lemon juice and sugar into the saucepan. Boil for 5 minutes.
- Pour the mixture into a blender and blend until smooth. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl. Taste your sauce and add sugar or lemon juice based on how sweet or sour you want it.
- Serve with some fresh strawberries and a strawberry sauce to pour around the Panna Cotta. Enjoy!