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This classic Italian dessert is literally translated as 'cooked cream'. It is smooth, creamy and goes extremely well with a seasonal fruit compote. Try it with a biscuit of your choice like shortbread or biscotti to contrast with the texture of the dessert.


Preparation Time: 15 minutes (+30 minutes infusing and 2 hours chilling)
Cooking Time: 5 minutes
Serves: 6


  1. Using a sharp knife, cut the vanilla pod in half lengthways. Then scrape the seeds out of each half using the tip of the knife. scraping the vanilla pod
  2. Pour half the cream into a pan, put in the vanilla pod with the seeds and sugar. Bring to the cream to the boil, stirring every now and then so that the sugar dissolves, and then turn off the heat. Leave the mixture to infuse for 30 minutes. making the base
  3. When the mixture has infused for 30 minutes, if using gelatine leaves, place them in a bowl of cold water to soften. Then heat the milk until it is almost boiling, turn off the heat, remove the gelatine leaves from the water and add them to the hot milk, stirring until they have dissolved. If using gelatine crystals, sprinkle the crystals into the cold milk and allow them to soak. Then heat the milk over a very low heat until the crystals dissolve, stirring once or twice. melting the gelatine
  4. Discard the vanilla pod from the infused cream, then pour the milk and gelatine mixture through a sieve into the infused cream mixture, stir it together then pour it into a bowl. Put some cold water into another bowl and then sit the bowl containing the cream mixture into the cold water (this is to help cool the cream mixture). Take care not to get any water in the cream mixture. cooling the mixture
  5. Whip the remaining cream. the whipped cream
  6. When the cream and gelatine mixture is cool but not set, fold in the whipped cream. the finished mixture
  7. Either:
    line a baking tray with 2 pieces of cling-film/plastic-wrap, lightly oil 6 ring moulds with vegetable oil, put the ring moulds onto the lined baking tray and carefully pour the mixture into the moulds
    just pour the mixture into ramekins. the mixture in the moulds
  8. Put the pannacottas into the fridge for about 2 hours, until they have set firmly.
  9. If using ring moulds, put each pannacotta onto the serving plate and heat the moulds by cupping each one with your hands until the mould slides off.
  10. Serve. We served it on a bed of chopped strawberries marinated for 30 minutes in icing sugar and covered with a sprinkling of crushed ginger biscuit. the finished vanilla pannacotta
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Useful Information

Can it be frozen? No.
Can it be prepared in advance? Yes, it can be finished up to 2 days in advance.
Will leftovers be nice? Yes, for up to 2 days.


- During step 2, instead of using vanilla, you could flavour the cream with anything you like such as lemongrass, ginger, cinnamon or even lavender.

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