Those who are familiar with the panna cotta will already be salivating just by hearing the name of the decadent Italian dessert. Made of sweetened cream that is then thickened and molded with gelatin, the creamy dessert can also be aromatized with many other flavorings.
Although the name “panna cotta” is Italian for “cooked cream,” the mixture is only warmed enough to dissolve the sugar and the gelatin. It is often served with various garnishes such as fruit or caramel. Sometimes panna cotta is confused with custard, but a true custard is thickened with egg yolks rather than gelatin.
Done right, every bite should be a dollop of warm, sweet heaven in your mouth. The dessert is simple to make, with very few ingredients. By infusing different flavors into the cream, you can achieve various twists to the classic Italian dessert. I have compiled 14 of the best (and inclusive!) panna cotta recipes to spice up your dessert.
1. Classic Panna Cotta
- 1/4 cup cold water or milk
- 2 1/4 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
This is the best classic panna cotta recipe I know. It is the go-to classic that has been an absolute hit at every dinner party I’ve brought it to. Despite the heavy cream I use, it is actually a very light, not-too-sweet dessert after a heavy Italian meal. You can swap out the heavy cream with a lighter cream or even milk for a result that is honestly just as delicious. Yes, I have tried it.
First, you place the water in a bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the surface. The gelatin is used as a thickening agent – there is nothing to fear. Let stand for about 5-10 minutes until it is softened. In a saucepan, heat up the cream, sugar, vanilla extract, and heat until sugar dissolves. Remove and stir in the gelatin until it is all dissolved. Pour the cream into 4 individual serving dishes and refrigerate for about 2-4 hours. You can add fresh fruit or lemon curd as a garnish to add some acidic flavor.