Panna cotta with Vanilla Specks

Panna cotta with raspberries

I’ve never in my wildest dreams thought that making panna cotta was so wickedly easy… Whenever we went out for fancy dinners and panna cotta was on the menu, I just had to have it. It is light and silky and smooth, but also at the same time it is rich and indulgent and utterly decadent. Fine dining par excellence!

For the longest time I’ve been treading a little light when it came to using gelatine. Oh, I’ve made jelly from packets before, but using leaf gelatine that needs soaking before one can use it? Whole new territory!

Like always, I watch dozens of videos before I attempt anything that may seem complicated. And now, whilst we’re in lockdown, I thought this would be the perfect time for me to try and make this seemingly complicated dessert.

I got everything ready; bought the ‘right’ milk, got the double cream, the vanilla, the gelatine and even a few raspberries for some decoration – who doesn’t love a raspberry?!

Even though in lockdown, I’m still working full-time. Being a teacher, this has brought on different challenges altogether, but I still find sanctuary in the kitchen – especially over my lunch break!

The making of…

I felt quite triumphant when I counted out the leaves of gelatine and pushed it into a bowl of cold water. It was actually oddly satisfying. I left it for the entire time it took to heat the milk.

Talking about heating the milk; I also added the sugar and the cream and put it over a very low heat (I have an electric stove and put this on setting 2 out of 9). I kept stirring the whole time. I didn’t want the mixture to boil, so I kept testing the temperature by sticking my (very clean) finger in to see how hot it is. As soon as it became too hot for me to do this, I took it off the heat and added the vanilla paste and squeezed the excess water out of the gelatine leaves (oh so satisfying!) and placed it gently into the hot milk. I kept stirring until it was melted and mixed through.

I fancied having the specks of vanilla as part of my decoration (sacrilege, I know!) so I poured the hot liquid into moulds and placed into the fridge to set. If you want the vanilla to be evenly spread, you should leave the mixture to cool to room temperature, give it a final mix before pouring the liquid through a sieve into the moulds.

Ideally I would’ve liked to use dariole moulds, but we recently moved and this is still tucked away – no idea where! I (stupidly perhaps) had no other choice but to use a silicone muffin tin and let me tell you that turning these bad boys out was quite the challenge! It took two spatulas and a lot of patience to get it right. The very last one was by far the easiest. Although, I must say, having used the silicone moulds it has also unmoulded relatively easy (no need to dunk the bottom into hot water). So much so that I’m considering buying some more and cut them into individual cups…

I kept them uncovered in the fridge for around 5 or so hours before unmoulding the first two, then covered them to be unmoulded over the next two days. I must admit that my plating skills got better and better with each passing day!

The coulis

I couldn’t find any blueberries or blackberries so I had to settle for raspberries, but then again, who doesn’t love a raspberry?!

I first sprinkled about a tablespoon of sugar over the raspberries before using a honey dipper (yup!) to mash the berries to a pulp. Since I wanted to get rid of the pips, I pushed it through a sieve and collected the juice in a small bowl. I did this right before serving so it doesn’t form a skin on top.

Panna Cotta with Vanilla Specks

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Rating: ★★★★★
  • Print


    Panna Cotta
  • 4 leaves gelatine, soaked in cold water for about 10 minutes
  • 375 ml whole milk
  • 300 ml double cream
  • 30 grams caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
  • Coulis

  • 1 punnet fresh raspberries (pick out some for decoration)
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • fresh mint leaves


    Panna Cotta

  1. Combine milk, cream and sugar in a saucepan and heat slowly on a stovetop (If you have an Instant Pot, the heat may distribute a bit more evenly if you use the sauté function ). Don’t allow the milk to boil as it can separate.
  2. Squeeze the excess water out of the gelatine and then add this along with the vanilla to the warm milk. Stir until the gelatine is melted.
  3. If you wish to have the vanilla seeds on top when you unmould the dessert (like mine), then strain through a sieve and pour into your moulds – leave to cool before placing in fridge. If you wish to evenly distribute the seeds through your dessert, then leave the liquid to cool until it has reached room temperature before giving it a stir, strain through a sieve and pour into moulds.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours to enable the liquid to set.
  5. Unmould by using your finger to gentle pull the panna cotta away from the sides before turning the mould upside down over your plate. Ensure the dessert is in the correct place as you will not be able to move it once placed.
  6. Coulis

  7. Mash the raspberries with the sugar.
  8. Work it through a fine sieve to get rid of the pips and use the pulp to decorate the plate and panna cotta as desired.
  9. Finish off with a mint leaf.

If you fancy some more dessert recipes, why not have a look at these:

19 Comments on “Panna cotta with Vanilla Specks

  1. Oh my, this looks gorgeous! I’m also a panna cotta fan & would definitely order this if it was on the menu. As we’re in lock down I may have to try it myself! 🍓❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is one dessert I’ve never had before, this looks so good I’ll have to try it out!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This looks so fancy and yet the instructions make it look super easy! I’d never heard of this before but I bet it takes amazing. I will have to give this a try.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I, too, thought it would be difficult at first, but it really is easy – the hardest part was waiting for it to set! Thank you for stopping by!x


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