Panna cotta

20 February 2014

Panna cotta with poached nectarines Panna cotta is considerably easier than you might think. Contrary to what some recipes suggest, there’s no need to bother using leaf gelatine (which is difficult to find) or carefully extracting each serving from a mould. In my experience panna cotta is perfect when made with powdered gelatine and served in a glass or ramekin, topped with fresh or poached fruit.

There are a number of ways to vary this recipe according to your taste. You can use any combination of milk and cream, and you can also incorporate buttermilk or yoghurt after the mixture has cooled. (Be careful with this: adding acidic ingredients while the mixture is hot will make it curdle!)

  • For six servings:
    2 cups of some combination of cream, milk, yoghurt, or buttermilk (at least 1 cup must be milk or cream)
    2 tsp gelatine
    ⅓ cup sugar (up to half may be replaced with honey)
    1 vanilla bean, or 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
    1 tsp brandy, sherry, or your choice of liqueur
  • Sprinkle the gelatine over the milk or cream and leave to soften for about 10 minutes.
  • Whisk in the sugar and vanilla, then heat the mixture gently, whisking occasionally, until a little steam comes off the top and specks of gelatine are no longer visible.
  • Leave the mixture to cool until luke warm (about 10 minutes), then whisk in the alcohol and any buttermilk or yoghurt that you are using. Pour into six small glasses or ramekins and chill for at least four hours, ideally overnight. Serve topped with fresh or poached fruit.