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Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Dessert to Impress - Panna Cotta ~ 意式香草奶凍

For tea time, I re-used the jars from Miette Pâtisserie & Confiserie.

For party, I like to use the glasses.

Do you want to impress that special someone when cooking for two? Do you want to wow your guests at your next house party? This popular Italian dessert calls panna cotta will do just that. I have received numerous compliments. This dessert is easy for people in all levels of culinary skills. It was a piece of cake even for an amateur baker/cook like me. It took 4 steps to make: boil, stir, pour and freeze. It doesn’t get easier than that. Trust me, 99% of people who attempted turn out to be a huge success. If you are that 1% who failed, please drop me some lines or send me a picture of your final product.

I made this to replace the birthday cake. I was told not to bring anything that looks like a cake to a restaurant for a friend’s birthday because they will charge a service fee. Not that I care for the service fee but I knew the place does not serve good desserts. I believe firmly that everyone should be treated to something sweet on their birthday. If I can’t bring in a cake, I will make other scrumptious sweets then. I flipped through shelves of cook books and found a mouth watering mango mousse cup featured in Five Star Cakes & Desserts by Tony Wong. This dessert cup is made with layers of panna cotta, mango cube, mango mousse and top off with mango sauce and a sprig of mint. I have never tasted panna cotta. I thought “something different”. However, it seem too time consuming although it looks delicious. Then there is a side note saying that panna cotta is delicious eaten by itself. A light bulb lighted up. Since I need to whip this in an hour (literally), I need to make it as simple as possible. Mango was not in season so I substitute with strawberries (cheaper, widely available and it cuts the calories in half too.). If you don’t like either mango or strawberry, you can substitute with your favorite fruits. Passion fruit, raspberry, cherry, peach, plum, the choices are endless. Create your own combination!

Serves 6 (6oz glasses)

Panna Cotta

150g* whipping cream
50g milk
33g granulated sugar
¼ vanilla pod (split and seeds scraped)
3g leaf gelatine (I sub this with Knox original gelatine.)
5g Amaretto (Italian almond liqueur available in BevMo.)

Strawberry Sauce

100g strawberry puree (Put 15 strawberries in the food processor, grind. Strain.)
2g leaf gelatine (I sub this with 2g Knox original gelatine.)
25g granulated sugar

Some mints and diced strawberries for presentation
* g = gram

Bring whipping cream, milk, sugar and vanilla pod (and seeds) to boil. Stir occasionally.

Remove from heat. Add pre-soaked leaf gelatine or powder gelatine. Stir until gelatine completely melted.

Strain. Discard vanilla pod. Let cool to room temperature. Pour in the Amaretto. Stir well.

Pour mixture into glasses until 2/3 full. Put in refrigerator for 15 minutes or until set. Prepare strawberry sauce.

Heat strawberry puree and sugar until sugar completely dissolved. Add pre-soaked leaf gelatine or powder gelatine. Stir well until gelatine completely melted.

Take panna cotta out from the fridge. It should be set by now. Spoon a layer of strawberry sauce on top of panna cotta. Refrigerate again.

Decorate with diced strawberries and mint before serving. You may also add in other diced fruits to make an impressive presentation.

Note: I like to add 2tbs spoon of cold water to the powder gelatine before adding to the mixture. I found that it helps dissolve faster.


淡忌廉/鮮奶油 150克
牛奶 50克
砂糖 33克
魚膠片/明膠片 3克(或魚膠粉)
雲呢拿條 (開半刮籽) ¼條
Amaretto 酒(杏仁酒) 5克

*士多啤梨/草莓 puree 100克
魚膠片/明膠片 2克(或魚膠粉2克)
砂糖 25克

裝飾用士多啤梨/草莓, 薄荷 隨意



將奶漿篩過後,稍微放涼。接著加入 Amaretto 酒,攪拌均勻。然後倒進漂亮的杯子中, 約2/3 滿﹐放進冰箱冷凍至凝固(約15分鐘) 。


將草莓醬倒在己凝固的奶凍上, 再放進冰箱冷凍至凝固(約10分鐘) 。即成。食用時把黑莓(也可以用草莓或覆盆子) 及薄荷裝飾在上方之後,就可以上桌啦 ^U^


  1. Vi,

    It's me again! I made your panna cotta again, per popular request since my last trial. Hahaha...I figure I should let you know, and thank you for sharing such a good recipe.

    Thanks. =)


    p.s. I finally saw the tulip jar that you used in this recipe at Sur La Table, but they are so cher! $3 each... =S Where did you get yours, if you don't mind me asking?

  2. Hi Babe~

    Awesome! I'm glad people like it coz I love this Italian custard and want everyone else to fall for it too =]

    I got these jars from Miette Pâtisserie & Confiserie inside the Ferry Building. The shop sells buttermilk panna cotta in a jar and customers have an option to get a dollar back if they return the jars. I just kept them. However, it was $5 per dessert jar and I bought 6 so if you do the math.....>.<

    I found that one of the imported yogurt brand, Spega, on sale @ TJ's sporting a similar jar, $2.95 for 2 yogurts! I think it is a much better deal!

  3. Vi,

    I went to Whole Foods and bought the yogurt you mentioned. It is indeed very similar shape as the one I wanted, and much cheaper. Though, I still like the tulip jar better.

    I found out the maker of that tulip jar, they have ordering from Illinois. You want to collectively order some, to save shipping? Hehehe... ;-)

    Here's their website.

    Their ordering is the old fashion way, by paper or phone, BTW.

  4. BTW, thank you so much for the information you gave me. The yogurt actually tastes very good. I bought the original flavor one, and just added sugar myself. It's definitely European styled yogurt, which I prefer to the American style. =D

  5. H Babe,

    I’m glad I introduced you to something new and you actually like it too!

    Thank you for the 411! I bought some canning jars from this brand before; I haven’t used them yet but they are cute! I shall try canning soon~

  6. hihi .. venus. i'm going to try this this weekend =D where do you get vanilla pod? -emily (mei's friend)

  7. Hi Emily,

    You can buy vanilla pod from the following retailers:

    - Whole Foods
    - sur la table
    - Williams Sonoma
    - Peet's Coffee
    - Pasta Shop (in Berkeley)

    I hope you will like it. This is one of the easiest desserts but so yummy that people will think that you have spent hours preparing. Enjoy~

  8. thanks .. i'm giong to try it soon for my hubby's bday hehe. so excited.


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