Best 20-Minute Easy Pannacotta
What is Pannacotta or Panna Cotta?
This dessert dish from Italy has a cargo van full of names and some of them include:
- Italian Custard.
- Italian Egg Custard - However, many varieties do not contain eggs at all.
- Panna Cotta - means cooked cream.
- Italian Pudding.
Pannacotta is a traditional northern Italian dessert recipe originating in Piedmont, Italy, including Turin, which is famous for the Shroud of Turin and the Turin Olympic Games of the 20th century.
The thick, rich dessert includes ingredients such as heavy cream, sugar, gelatin, and an individual's choice of flavors for toppings. It is often created as a creamy vanilla base, with sauces spooned over top.
Some pannacotta are also made with cinnamon or caramel and topped with other sauces to add a wider palette of flavors.. The key ingredient in all of the variations of the dessert is good quality cream. Thus it becomes like a creamy, more sophisticated and more fully flavorful version of American Jell-O®.
Origins in Italy
Home of Delicious Desserts
The key ingredient in all of the variations of the dessert is good quality cream.
The toppings for the Italian dessert include caramel, chocolate, and fruit sauces; shaved or broken dark chocolate; powdered cinnamon or ginger; and many types of preserves. You might experiment with your own ingredients and invent something new!
The Piedmont area of Italy is located in the far northwest corner of the country and includes Turin, when the famous Shroud of Turin was discovered and where the 2006 Winter Olympic Games were held. In the past, religious pilgrims traveling from Canterbury to Rome passed through the Piedmont, particularly through the Valley of Abbeys.
On the borders of France and Switzerland, the Piedmont was not highly traveled as a tourist destination until after 1970. It has become a center that now attracts those in search of gourmet dining. About two dozen festivals are held in the region, including the White Truffle Festival in Alba.
Basic Panacotta IngredientsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Simple Pannacotta in 20 Minutes Cook Time
Serves 6 people
- 2 Cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 Whole vanilla bean
- 2 Ounces granulated sugar
- 1 Envelope Knox, kosher, or any other brand of good, unflavored gelatin
- ¼ Cup cold water
- Caramel, fruit, or chocolate syrup; shaved chocolate, broken peanut brittle, raisins, craisins (dried cranberries), fresh fruit slices, nuts, or any topping that you like!
- Dissolve gelatin in water.
- Pour the whipping cream into a saucepan
- Take 1 vanilla bean, cut it open, and scrape it out into the saucepan. Then add the whole bean.
- Add sugar and mix.
- Heat the mixture over moderate heat (do not oil) and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Remove pan from the heat and remove vanilla bean with tongs and discard.
- Stir the mixture consistently while gradually dissolving the gelatin/water into the hot whipping cream.
- Pour the mixture into pudding cups or ramekins that have been rinsed out with cold water to chill.
- Put cups in the coldest part of the refrigerate until set, or overnight.
- When ready to serve, turn the pannacotta upside down onto serving plates and place topping over each one.
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Strawberry Balsalmic Pannacotta
Serves 6 guests
- 2 Tbsp water
- 1 ¼ teaspoon unflavored gelatin, such as Knox, a good store brand, or a kosher variety.
- 2 Cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 ¼ cups yogurt - plain, vanilla, or strawberry.
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ Cup sugar
- 1 Quart of strawberries, stems removed, berries washed and sliced
- 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbsp Sugar
- ½ teaspoon pepper - This provides a slight bite to the topping.
- Spoon strawberries over pannacotta and enjoy.
These are the perfect size for chilling and serving this Italian dessert.
- Pour 2 Tbsp water into a bowl and sprinkle gelatin over top – allow to stand until soft (15 minutes).
- Mix 1 Cup cream, yogurt, and vanilla in a larger bowl.
- Heat and stir another 1 Cup cream and ½ Cup sugar in small pan over medium heat until sugar dissolves and cream begins to just bubble around the edges.
- Quickly remove from heat and pour into the gelatin mixture, stirring well to dissolve gelatin.
- Pour this hot mixture into the yogurt mixture in the bowl.
- Pour batter into 6 tart shells, 6 custard cups, or 6 ramekins - ½ cup batter in each.
- Refrigerate cups uncovered until cold, or for up to one night overnight if covered and refrigerate overnight.
- Before serving, toss strawberries (sliced), vinegar, sugar, and pepper in a bowl and permit to stand to marinate for 30 minutes.
- Spoon strawberries over panacotta and enjoy.
More Foods From Italy for You to Make - Easy to Use Recipes
- Italian Cooking - Orangy Roughy Puttanesca and Pasta
Puttanesca sauce is a Neopolitan favorite that is delicious over Orange roughy, but can be used over spaghetti, chicken, or other meats and pastas.
- Italian Sausage Lasagna with Roasted Garlic
Try this sausage lasagna recipe to add some zip to to favorite standard dish. Spicy hot sausage is also a treat! A free coloring page is included.
Another Variation: Kiwi Panacotta
© 2008 Patty Inglish MS