This rich and creamy strawberry panna cotta is a delicious Italian dessert. It’s a delicate vanilla pudding stabilized with gelatin and served with a sweet strawberry sauce.
❤️ Why You’ll Love This Recipe: Panna Cotta is a crowd-pleasing dessert that’s easy to make for a crowd and always impressive. This recipe has warm and creamy vanilla flavor with a fresh strawberry sauce that’s perfect for the 4th of July or Memorial Day, or any day of the year.
Update: This recipe is slightly adapted from Epicurious. I’ve updated the post with new photos and tips to help you make it at home!
How to Make Panna Cotta
Working with gelatin to stabilize your vanilla pudding is easier than you think. There are a few different kinds of culinary gelatine, but the powdered gelatin sold in packets, like Knox Unflavored Gelatine, is the easiest to work with.
Before you start making the panna cotta, I recommend having your molds or ramekins at the ready. Arrange them on a baking sheet so you can easily fill them and stick them in the fridge to set up.
Tip: When pouring the panna cotta mixture into the ramekins, if anything is scalded on the bottom of your pan, DO NOT scrape this into your ramekins, just leave it.
Chilling the custards overnight is best if you have the time.
How to Work With Gelatin
There are three steps to working with gelatin in baking:
- Dissolve. First, dissolve the powdered gelatin into water.
- Melt. Next, you must melt the powdered gelatin in a very small saucepan or microwave safe bowl. This hydrates the powder so it can uniformly dissolve into your panna cotta.
- Gently whisk the melted gelatin into your panna cotta base. Use a rubber spatula to get all of the gelatine out of the pan/bowl. It’s important to work it in evenly, but not to overmix the panna cotta. This can also create an odd texture.
Strawberry Sauce Tips
This strawberry sauce for your panna cotta is thickened with cornstarch. It’s important to whisk the sugar and cornstarch together first. It will remove lumps and help the mixture to dissolve better.
As the strawberry mixture cooks, stir it periodically to prevent burning. A potato masher works best to mash the strawberries.
Be sure to let the strawberry mixture cool completely before putting on your panna cotta. Otherwise, it can melt you beautiful molded dessert
Serving Strawberry Panna Cotta
To remove your panna cotta from the ramekins, fill a small bowl with hot water (you should be able to touch the water, not boiling). Working one at a time, place a ramekin into the bowl of water for 3-5 seconds.
Remove it from the water and, if needed, run a knife around the edge in a smooth movement. Do not use a sawing motion or it will make a rough edge on your panna cotta.
Put your serving plate on top of the ramekin. Then quickly but gently tip the ramekin upside down and let the panna cotta fall out of the ramekin. If the panna cotta is off-center, gently place the ramekin over the panna cotta again and move it into place.
Tip: if you add a bit of water to your plate, it’s easier to move the panna cotta around after unmolding it.
Finally, pour strawberry sauce over each custard and add any garnishes you like. We use strawberries, blueberries and a homemade tuile cookie.
If you’re not serving your panna cotta right away, keep them chilled until you’re ready to serve.
These are best served the day after they’re made, but you can refrigerate for 1-2 days more if you need to. If you’re storing them, keep the panna cotta in their ramekins until just before serving.
More Fruit Desserts
If your house is full of summer produce, try these other fruity dessert recipes next:
- Fresh Strawberry Pie is a sweet and refreshing summer dessert with homemade crust, whipped cream and your favorite berries.
- This White Chocolate Raspberry Pavlova is a stunning meringue surprise with sweet white chocolate and tart berries.
- Instant Pot Strawberry Cheesecake from Pressure Cooking Today is a beautiful layered fruit dessert with a tangy cream cheese filling.
Strawberry Panna Cotta
- 1 cup 240 ml whole milk
- 1 tablespoon one packet (15 ml) (7 gm) (¼ oz) unflavored powdered gelatin
- 3 cups 720 ml whipping cream (30+% butterfat)
- ⅓ cup 80 ml honey (I used agave)
- 1 tablespoon 15 ml (15 gm) (½ oz) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla or vanilla bean paste
- pinch of salt
- Pour the milk into a bowl or pot and sprinkle gelatin evenly and thinly over the milk (make sure the bowl/pot is cold by placing the bowl/pot in the refrigerator for a few minutes before you start making the Panna Cotta). Let stand for 5 minutes to soften the gelatin.
- Pour the milk into the saucepan/pot and place over medium heat on the stove. Heat this mixture until it is hot, but not boiling, about five minutes. (I whisk it a few times at this stage).
- Next, add the cream, honey, sugar, vanilla and pinch of salt. Making sure the mixture doesn’t boil, continue to heat and stir occasionally until the sugar and honey have dissolved 5-7 minutes.
- Remove from heat, allow it to sit for a few minutes to cool slightly. Then pour into the glass or ramekin.
- Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight. Add garnishes and serve.