There’s a reason you see panna cotta on so many restaurant menus — it’s an easy-to-execute dessert with so many different flavor combinations. If you’re unfamiliar, panna cotta is an Italian dessert that translates to cooked cream and is made by combining sweetened heavy cream with gelatin. The final consistency is almost pudding-like, but unlike pudding, it contains no eggs.
It’s time to take a cue from the pros and make your own version at home. While panna cotta may seem intimidating, it comes together quickly and there’s no baking involved. To make it, bring a mixture of heavy cream, sugar and a vanilla bean to a simmer. Then add the softened gelatin sheets and whisk until fully incorporated into the mixture. Pour the liquid through a fine mesh sieve to remove any lumps, then transfer straight into your serving vessel of choice.
What makes this version particularly special is the infusion of rose water in the mixture. The rose water adds a subtle floral note, which pairs well with the fresh vanilla bean, without being too overpowering.
Technique Tip: Since the panna cotta has no binder other than gelatin, it’s important to let it fully set before serving. Six hours is the minimum time, but overnight is preferable, making it an ideal dessert to make in advance.
Get Ingredients: If you don’t have everything you need on hand, you can easily purchase all of the ingredients (just click the orange button below that says ‘Get Ingredients’). You can pick and choose exactly what ingredients you need based on what’s in your pantry and they’ll be on your doorstep before you know it.
- 2 gelatin sheets
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, scraped with pod
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup rose water
- fresh berries, for garnish
- honey, for garnish
- edible flowers, for garnish
In a shallow bowl, soak the gelatin in ice water (just enough to cover the sheets) for 15 minutes.2.
Fill a large bowl with ice, and nest a medium-sized bowl inside. Top it with a sieve.3.
In a medium-sized saucepan, add the cream, sugar, scraped vanilla bean with pod and a pinch of salt. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to simmer, whisking frequently. Do not boil.4.
Take the softened gelatin sheets and squeeze out any liquid. Add them to the simmered cream mixture and whisk to blend until the sheets have dissolved.5.
Pour the hot cream mixture through the sieve of the clean bowl surrounded by the ice bath. Discard the vanilla bean. Let the mixture cool in the ice bath, whisking occasionally, 5 to 10 minutes.6.
After the cream mixture has cooled down, stir in the rose water. Pour the cream into 6 ramekins, cover and refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight. To serve, add some fresh berries and a drizzle of honey, and of course edible flowers for an extra special touch.