How To Make The Perfect Panna Cotta

Serves 4

Without doubt the easiest pudding to prepare. It pleases everybody and is a good all-rounder for every season. Delicious in spring and summer with berries and during the autumn and winter with caramelised pears or apples. It looks quite stunning if resting on a pool of sauce, the likes of caramel, coffee, fruit coulis or spiced saffron cream. A little “crunch” is also welcome, and I usually serve it with a couple of thin, crisp biscuits.


  • 500ml double cream
  • 4tbs caster sugar
  • 1tbs grappa
  • Seeds from a vanilla pod
  • 2 sheets of gelatine
  • 4 moulds at least 150 ml capacity, preferably metal

Cooking Instructions

Place the double cream, sugar, grappa and vanilla seeds in a saucepan and bring slowly to the boil.

Simmer for a couple of minutes.

In the meantime, soak the sheets of gelatine in cold water until they are floppy.

Squeeze out any excess water and drop into the hot cream.

Stir until dissolved.

Pour the cream into the four moulds and leave to cool for a while before placing them in the refrigerator. (To speed up the process if you are in a hurry you may place the moulds in a bath of iced water for 20 min and then refrigerate until set. They need at least 2.5 hours if your fridge is in good nick, otherwise longer.)

To unmould quickly dip the bottom of the moulds in kettle hot water, then invert on each plate and they will slide out. Be careful not to leave them in hot water for too long or they will melt too much at the edges.

The consistency and thickness of leaf gelatine varies so you will have to experiment a little.

Bear in mind that with gelatine less is more, and when turned out of the mould they have to be very wobbly indeed.

Copyright Carla Tomasi