I still remember when I first made panna cotta and realised how incredibly simple it was to make. Here I was thinking it was this decadent specialty dessert that only restaurants could serve up and I couldn’t be further from the truth.
In actual fact, panna cotta is the work of literally minutes. It’s not only very, very easy to make but it also tastes luxurious and rich yet somehow light all at once and in this post I’ll give you all the best tips and tricks. It will likely take you longer to read the post than it would to make panna cotta.
For all of these reasons, it is absolutely the best dessert for entertaining.
10 minutes people, is all you need 🙂 No, really. 10 minutes.
You’ll love the tropical twist in this passionfruit panna cotta too.
What is Panna Cotta
Panna Cotta is a traditional Italian dessert made from cream, milk and sugar, plus a setting agent (normally gelatine). It has a silky smooth jelly-like consistency once set and these days can be made in a variety of flavours.
From strawberry to honey, chai to mango there is no end to the variety you can add to this creamy dessert.
Panna cotta ingredients
This classic panna cotta recipe uses a handful of everyday ingredients.
- Whole milk
- Gelatine powder
- Vanilla bean paste
This is quite simply the best panna cotta recipe – it’s not only the most simple method but also is so versatile. I’ve used this base recipe over and over and I truly will never stray from it because it turns out perfect every time.
Every mouthful of this Vanilla Panna Cotta is filled with that vanilla flavour coming straight from those gorgeous little black vanilla bean specks.
How to make Panna Cotta
In just 6 easy steps and less than 10 minutes you can have your dessert done.
- Bloom the gelatine in cold milk
- Heat the milk to lukewarm to dissolve the gelatine
- Dissolve the sugar in the milk
- Add flavouring
- Pour into cold cream
- Pour into serving dishes and set in the fridge.
I honestly couldn’t believe what I’d been missing out on before I made it myself. I’d never attempted it before Sugar Salt Magic as I thought it was difficult but these days I like a new challenge from time to time. The only thing Panna Cotta challenged was my belief of how hard they were to make.
First and most important (do not skip this step), sprinkle your gelatine over the cold milk in a saucepan and let it sit. After about 5 minutes it will look all wrinkly like photo 1. This is called ‘blooming’ the gelatine and all that really means is it is softening the gelatine to make it dissolve easier.
Now turn the heat on very low and stir it until the gelatine dissolves. Make sure you DON’T bring the milk to a simmer. It should only ever get to lukewarm which is enough to dissolve the gelatine and sugar.
Once the gelatine has dissolved, add the sugar and do the same. Add the vanilla.
Pour the mixture (through a strainer if you’re worried there may be lumps) into the cold cream and stir well (photo 2).
Panna Cotta moulds
Panna Cotta can be served innumerable ways. I’ve served it in pretty wine glasses, preserve jars, drinking glasses, in tart form, in a cheesecake and then there is this way – in panna cotta moulds. I use dariole moulds, so these pretty little desserts can be unmoulded onto a serving plate.
Dariole moulds are small round tin cups with straight sides and are made specifically to give a shape to something that you later want to unmould. I’ve even made cakes in dariole moulds.
Once the mixture is all combined just pour it evenly into pre-greased dariole moulds (photos 3 & 4)
How to get panna cotta out of the mould
- It’s best to give your moulds a light rub of oil before pouring your panna cotta mixture in.
- Once set, just dip the base of the mould in some tap warm water for 10 seconds.
- Use your finger to very carefully pull one side of the panna cotta away from the side of the mould, just enough to let some air in to release it. You’ll also be able to see if the panna cotta is moving freely in the mould this way.
- Dab your serving plate with a little water (this will allow you to move the panna cotta slightly once unmoulded if it’s not where you want it)
- Place the plate upside down over the panna cotta mould and flip them over.
- Give the panna cotta mould a little wiggle and it should slide out.
- If it doesn’t work the first time, give it a few more seconds in the warm water and try again.
Can panna cotta be made the day before
Yes, they can. Once made, the panna cotta will keep in the fridge, covered, for up to 3 days.
If you weren’t already convinced what a wonderfully easy and delicious dessert this is, it just got even better because you can make them ahead of time.
How to serve panna cotta
I serve this Vanilla Panna Cotta with an easy Orange Syrup but, being a vanilla base, you could serve it with so many different flavours. Try fresh fruit, rosewater, crushed nuts, praline, meringues, crumbled cookies, chocolate – the list is endless.
Let’s recap why you should try this Vanilla Panna Cotta with Orange Syrup
- 10 minutes to make
- It looks pretty
- It’s creamy, rich and luxurious
- It can be made ahead
- Endless flavour combinations
- This base recipe is extremely versatile
Click here to Pin this recipe for later!
Did I mention it’s easy? Ok I’ll stop but seriously this is such a beautiful dessert and something your guests will truly love.
There is a little gelatine in the orange syrup and you could likely get away without it but I just love the extra silkiness it adds. Any leftover syrup will set like a jelly (which is also delicious) in the fridge but as soon as you warm it slightly it will melt again.
More panna cotta recipes
- Boozy Eggnog Panna Cotta
- Panna Cotta Fresh Peach Tart
- Pistachio Rose Panna Cotta Tart
- Almond and Honey Panna Cotta
- Strawberry Panna Cotta
- Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Blood Orange Jelly
Vanilla Panna Cotta with Orange Syrup
For the Panna Cotta
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 3 teaspoons powdered gelatine
- 1/3 cup caster sugar
- 1 1/2 cups cream
- 1 teaspoons vanilla paste
- pinch of salt
For the Orange Syrup
- Zest of half a large orange
- 3/4 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon powdered gelatine
For best results, always weigh ingredients where a weight is provided
For the Panna Cotta
- If you want to turn the Panna Cotta out onto a plate when set, first start by spraying your dariole moulds or ramekins with oil spray (I find dariole moulds easier to use). Wipe them with paper towel so there is only a light covering.
- Pour the cold milk into a saucepan and sprinkle the gelatine over the top. Allow it to "bloom" for 5 minutes (it should look a bit wrinkly by the end). Turn the heat on low under the saucepan and stir for a minute or two until the gelatine has dissolved.
- Add the sugar and stir again until dissolved. This should only take another minute or two. Don't let the milk get too hot or to come to a simmer. It should only be just warm.
- Take the saucepan off the heat. Pour in the cream, vanilla and salt and mix until thoroughly combined.
- Pour into dishes or moulds. Place immediately in the fridge and allow to set for at least 4 hours (or they can be made a day ahead).
- To unmould, fill a dish with warm water just an inch or so, then sit the moulds into the warm water for 10-20 seconds. Place your serving dish on top of the Panna Cotta mould and flip it over. Give the Panna Cotta a gentle shake. They may take a little bit of encouragement but should slide out perfectly. These will melt if left for too long so make sure you don't turn them out until ready to serve.
For the Orange Syrup
- Place the zest, juice, water and sugar in a saucepan and simmer, stirring until all the sugar is dissolved. Turn the heat off and stir in the gelatine until dissolved.
- Leave it to cool down and it should become nice and thick and syrupy. Drizzle over the top of the Panna Cotta
- Before turning the panna cotta out, dab a little water onto the serving plate. This will allow you to move it around a little once turned onto the plate, in the case it doesn't end up right where you want it.
- You don't need to use dariole moulds. You can serve panna cotta in any kind of glass or serving dish.
TOOLS USED IN THIS RECIPE
- 1 cup capacity dariole moulds
- A heavy based saucepan
WANT MORE PANNA COTTA RECIPES? CLICK HERE
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18 Comments on “Vanilla Panna Cotta with Orange Syrup”
I absolutely love making this dessert. It looks complex and flash when served. Nobody would guess how easy it is to make. It’s my go to recipe now when I have visitors. Thank you for sharing it. It’s amazing!
Thank you so much, Jo. So happy you love it 🙂
An excellent and easy recipe for panacotta and the orange jelly is to be recommended as we found it delicious. I also added fresh orange slices with the jelly. I will certainly make again.
Truly so happy you tried my recipe and super happy that you love it as much as I do.
Your Pannacotta recipe is my ONLY go to recipe for this amazing desert.
Thank you so much for breaking the “magic spell” on this classic desert
Thanks so much Wayne. I’m so happy you love it
Hiii, can you substitute powdered gelatin to gelatin sheet? Thanks so much
You could but it would require experimentation. I don’t use sheets and sheets come in different strengths so I couldn’t tell you the best type or quantity to use. I’ll add it to my list to test out.
Going to try making these along with the strawberry sauce recipe you posted recently for a perfect Canada day celebration dessert! Quick question- can I use pure vanilla extract instead of the paste? If yes – how much should I use? Thanks a ton!
Hi Teena, yes. Pure vanilla in the same quantity will work just fine.
This panna cotta looks so creamy and beautiful! They came out of your molds so perfectly. I’ve only made panna cotta once, I really need to make them more!
They’re such a beautiful dessert. Thanks so much 🙂
Marie, this looks so creamy and heavenly! And I love the orange sauce! I can’t believe how easy it is to make!
Super simple. Thank you Kelly 🙂
I made panna cotta only once or twice, but I had been hesitating for years, I guess like many other people, assuming it was a complicated desserts. I actually need to make it more often this year. And this version is so pretty and positive – perfect for the spring time!
Maybe a Dulce De Leche panna cotta might be the thing, Ben 🙂 Thanks so much
I plan to make this lovely dessert but have a couple of questions. How many individual Panne cotta does this recipe make? What size Dariole Moulds do you use? Thank you! I’ve never attempted making panna cotta but your recipe and instructions make it seem possible!
Hello Susan, this will serve 6 modest size or 4 larger ones. The smaller serves will result in 1/2 cup serves and the larger ones about 3/4 cup. Panna Cotta is not only possible, it’s super easy. You can serve it set in glasses too if you don’t want to turn it out. If you do turn it out, just brush a little water on the plate first and this will enable you to adjust its position slightly if needed. Hope you love it ?