This Panna Cotta is a creamy, not-too-sweet pudding/custard topped with a strawberry puree and fresh berries. When presented on an angle, it is a beautiful and delicious end to any meal.
- 1–1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 (1/4 oz.) packet of unflavored gelatin powder, or 1 Tbsp.
- 6 Tbsp. sugar
- 1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean, split open
- 2–1/2 cups heavy cream
- oil for coating ramekins (not necessary if using glasses)
Strawberry Coulis Layer
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 (1/4 oz.) packet of unflavored gelatin powder
- 2 cups fresh strawberry puree — needs 1-1/2 – 2 lbs. of strawberries ** see how to make the coulis puree below in instructions
- 2/3 cup of sugar
- Fresh berries
- Sprigs of Mint
- Place the milk in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the top. Stir well, and set aside to soften for 10 minutes.
- If using ramekin bowls, brush the insides of 8 (one-half cup) ramekins with a coating of neutral oil and set aside. Half-fill a large bowl with ice and add enough water to make an ice bath and set aside.
- In a small saucepan, combine the cream, sugar and vanilla extract or split vanilla bean, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat, and whisk in the softened gelatin/milk mixture. Scrape the vanilla seeds from the bean pod into the mixture, and discard the pod.
- Set the saucepan in the ice bath (making sure the top of the saucepan is well above the surface of the water), and whisk until the mixture is lukewarm. Rub your fingers together: There should be no grit from undissolved sugar or gelatin.
- If using ramekins: Pour the mixture into oiled ramekins and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight. If you’re going to keep them longer than overnight, cover them with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap gently against the panna cotta to prevent a skin from forming. Be aware that preparing the panna cotta more than 24 hours in advance will result in a firmer set.
- If using clear glasses: Pour the mixture into glasses (in this case, served at an angle* in clear glasses), leaving about 1 inch from the brim of the glasses (you will fill up this space with the strawberry coulis puree that you prepare next). *See notes on how to stand glasses on an angle.
- If using the ramekins only: About 10 minutes before serving, run a thin-bladed knife around the inside of the ramekin. Dip each ramekin briefly in a bowl of hot tap water, and then carefully flip each over onto serving plates. If the panna cotta doesn’t unmold right away, tap the ramekin lightly on the countertop to loosen it. If it still doesn’t unmold, return it to the hot water bath for another five seconds and repeat. Skip this step if using clear glasses.
For the Strawberry Coulis Puree:
- Puree the strawberries with either a hand-held blender or a food processor until smooth. Press the pureed strawberries through a mesh strainer to separate the seeds. Pour the strained strawberry juice into a glass measuring cup with a pouring spout.
- In 3/4 cup water, sprinkle the gelatin on top and stir well. Set aside for 10 minutes to allow the gelatin to thicken.
- Heat the gelatin/water mixture in a microwave or on a stovetop, but do NOT boil it.
- Stir well again and then add it to the strawberry puree.
- Add the sugar. Stir well again and allow it to cool.
There are several ways to serve Panna Cotta:
Traditionally, it is served in small ramekin bowls with the fruit puree poured over the top.
Or, as in this version, it can be served in clear glasses tilted diagonally on their sides. For this presentation and serving method, pour the vanilla cream into each glass, leaving about 1 full inch from the brim of the glass. Chill for a minimum of 4 hours or better yet, overnight. When the creamy pudding layer is a little firm, keep the glasses at the same angle and slowly pour the strawberry coulis on top. Once again, place the glasses of vanilla cream and strawberry coulis in the fridge overnight. Garnish with berries and sprigs of mint.
To stand the glasses on an angle, take a muffin pan, and put a paper towel in each muffin slot to steady the glasses. Place a glass on top of each paper towel and place each glass on a diagonal angle. Without the paper towels, the glasses slide straight upwards.
- Serving Size: 6 oz.