Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta

(makes 8-10 servings)

3 T water

1 package gelatin

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In a sauce pot:

1 ½ C heavy cream

¾ C sugar

1 vanilla bean, split and scraped

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In a mixing bowl:

1 ½ C heavy cream

2 C crème fraiche

1 ½ t vanilla extract

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Place water in a shallow bowl and evenly sprinkle gelatin over the water. Let it sit while you prepare other ingredients.

Place pot mix on the stove and bring to a slow boil. Remove from heat and allow cream mixture to steep for 15 minutes.

Whisk mixing bowl ingredients together until smooth and well incorporated. Avoid whipping air bubbles into the mix.

Once gelatin is set up (see picture), add it to the steeping cream mixture and stir in until it completely dissolves. Pour the pan mix through a fine sieve into the mixing bowl ingredients. Slowly whisk to blend both mixtures. Pour the combined mix through the sieve again into a pitcher. Pour into molds. Chill in the refrigerator for 5-6 hours. Overnight is perfect.  This is another make ahead dessert that holds for several days. Carefully run a knife around the edges of the mold and gently nudge the panna cotta onto a plate. Serve with macerated fruit and a drizzle of the reduced Frangelico. A bit of orange zest on top is a nice touch.

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This plastic implement works well for removing the panna cotta. Cut around the very top and then slide the spatula down the side of the mold until you are at the bottom. Then just nudge it a little to loosen the suction. Slowly wedge it out.

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You will not be able to resist this!

For macerated fruit: combine a ½ C of golden raisins and a ½ C of dried cherries in a small sauce pan. Cover with Frangelico and place over medium heat. Reduce liquid by half. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Stores well in the refrigerator.

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Panna Cotta means “cooked cream”. This is a refreshing, light dessert perfect for summer time eating. The absolute best version of this is served at DOUGH PIZZERIA in San Antonio. Carla’s Panna Cotta always ends meals there. They drizzle some caramel along with the dried fruits for their presentation.

I found these acrylic highball glasses at Ace Mart to use as my molds. Small flared pyrex bowls could work too.


  1. Wow! Can’t wait to make this. I agree that this is a perfect, summer dessert. So much to cook, so little time!

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