This vanilla bean panna cotta is the simplest yet most elegant dessert we’ve made so far! It’s rich, silky smooth, and melt-in-your-mouth delicious! Here’s how to make panna cotta with instructions on incorporating vanilla, blooming gelatin, demoulding the panna cotta etc!
I often say that I’m intimidated by desserts because they require another level of patience and finesse. Which I usually can’t be bothered with. HOWEVER. I mustered up the courage to make Masala Chai Panna Cotta some time ago, and it was a game changer!
Panna cotta is such a deceiving dessert. It looks incredibly beautiful and so elegant, and yet it’s one of the easiest desserts you’ll make! It’s one of those desserts that will make your guests go “Woah!”
Making panna cotta is so simple and effortless and you only need a few standard ingredients. In this post, I’m teaching you everything you need to know to make the perfect vanilla panna cotta. Read on!
Quick Walk Through: Panna Cotta
What is Panna Cotta?
Panna cotta is an Italian dessert that literally means cooked cream. It’s made with flavoured cream and gelatin, and then refrigerated till it sets. If you cook your cream right, that’s half the job done. In this panna cotta recipe, we’re using vanilla bean as the star of the dish.
Incorporating the Vanilla flavour
The best way to incorporate the vanilla flavour is with a Vanilla bean. We tested the recipe with vanilla extract as well, but the results were vastly different. The flavour was more prominent with a vanilla bean, and those specks of vanilla through the panna cotta were just gorgeous! Make sure you use a good quality bean. It should be pliable when you try to bend it (this indicates the bean isn’t very old). Watch the video to see how to scrape out vanilla from the bean. When the vanilla is cooked with cream and milk, all those vanilla-ey flavours seep into the mixture, so that there is an explosion of vanilla in your mouth.
Note: Vanilla beans are really strong and adding too much makes the dessert bitter. So just stick to the measurements.
5 Easy Steps to the Perfect Panna Cotta
Here are the five easy steps to make the best vanilla panna cotta:
- Bloom the gelatin in cold milk - we’ve used gelatin granules for this dessert recipe
- Stir in some sugar - this will make the gelatin get to work. Sugar pulls water from the gelatin thus strengthening its gelling ability.
- Infuse Vanilla
- Add heavy cream and whisk. Simmer gently till it warms up but don’t let it come to a boil
- Pour the mixture into moulds and refrigerate overnight
Top Tips to Make The Best Panna Cotta
- Remember to use high quality gelatin. Apart from having poor gelling ability, low quality gelatin also leaves a bitter aftertaste. We tested it with a brand called Eagle and that results in a denser texture to the panna cotta. If possible to procure it, we recommend using gelatin by CCDS (available at Foodhall stores and on the CCDS website) if you are in India
- It’s important to mix gelatin in cold milk, and not hot milk - it helps the gelatin bloom without getting lumpy
- While gently heating and cooking the cream and gelatin mixture, whisk the mixture to ensure all the gelatin dissolves
- Strain the mixture to remove any vanilla debris before putting it in the moulds
- The panna cotta needs a minimum of 6-8 hours for it to set. Overnight is even better!
- Do not freeze the panna cotta hoping for quicker results. The cold freezer temperature causes the gelatin to lose it’s gelling abilities! It will end up becoming a watery mess upon thawing.
How to Demould Panna Cotta easily
To demould panna cotta, use a palette knife or paring knife to gently release the edges of the panna cotta from the mould. This is an important step - it helps to keep the panna cotta in one piece while demoulding! Place the moulds in warm (but not boiling) water for 6-8 seconds, and then rest it on the counter for another 5-10 seconds. The warmth from the water helps to free up the panna cotta from the mould and demoulding becomes super easy! Flip the mould over a plate and demould. If it doesn’t come out on the first try, dip it in warm water again for a few seconds.
This is our version of raspberry compote. We’ve kept it super chunky to add some contrasting texture to the panna cotta. Raspberry compote is really simple and takes only three ingredients - raspberries, sugar, and lemon juice. The compote is sweet and tart, with a blast of raspberry flavour. It tastes AMAZING with the panna cotta, plus it makes for a great visual too! Keep this raspberry compote recipe handy, coz you can serve it with our Eggless Vanilla Cake too!
Generously pour the raspberry compote on these vanilla panna cottas and take your guests’ breath away!
Guys, trust me and try this recipe. You won’t regret it! And don’t forget to tell me about your panna cotta experience in the comments below!
Watch Panna Cotta Recipe Video to see how it jiggles!
Classic Vanilla Panna Cotta
Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta
- 1 Vanilla Bean
- ¼ Cup Cold Milk
- 1 ¼ Teaspoons Gelatin or use vegetarian gelatin
- ⅓ Cup Sugar
- 1 Cup Cream
- 1 Cup Raspberry frozen or fresh
- 2 Tablespoons Sugar adjust depending on sweetness of raspberries
- ½ Teaspoon freshly squeezed Lemon Juice
Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta
- Make a vertical slit down the length of the vanilla bean. Hold down the tip of the bean and scrape out the seeds. Keep aside.
- Add cold milk to a saucepan. Sprinkle gelatin over it and allow it bloom, about 5 minutes. Once the gelatin has bloomed, add sugar and turn on the heat to low and gently heat the milk allowing the gelatin to dissolve. Whisk frequently and do not let it simmer. If the saucepan gets too hot, remove from flame until it cools down.
- When the sugar and gelatin has almost dissolved, add the vanilla bean seeds and pod to the saucepan.
- Whisk in the cream and combine well. Heat gently for about a minute or two till the cream is hot but isn't scalding or boiling and then turn off the flame. Remove the vanilla pod and strain the mix.
- Divide the mix into four 3 ounce ramekins or jars. Refrigerate for 6-8 hours or overnight for best results.
- To demould, run a knife along the side of the jar to loosen the panna cotta. Then immerse the jars or ramekins in warm water for 6-8 seconds, being careful not to let water seep into the panna cotta. Let them rest on the counter for another 5-8 seconds Then carefully invert it onto a plate and demould. Serve topped with raspberry compote.
- Add raspberries and sugar to a saucepan over medium heat. Heat and allow the sugar to dissolve and the compote to slightly thicken, about 4-5 minutes. Stir occasionally. Turn off the heat and mix in the freshly squeezed lemon juice. Spoon it over the panna cotta to serve.
- Blooming Gelatin: It's really important to bloom gelatin in cold milk. If the milk is even slightly warm before it blooms, the gelatin will start cooking and become lumpy
- Gelatin: Use good quality gelatin. During our tests, we realised the quality of gelatin makes a huge difference to the final panna cotta.
- To demould panna cotta, slide a knife around the edges. Then dip the ramekin (or mould) in hot water for 3-4 seconds. Let the ramekins sit for 5-10 seconds and then turn them upside down on a plate. Tap the bottom of the ramekin gently and the panna cotta should fall out. If it doesn't, repeat the process of dipping it in warm water in two second increments.