I remember sinking my spoon into my first Panna Cotta; it was love at first bite! I finally attempted to make this dreamy dessert myself incorporating two flavors that I love, vanilla and almond.
Although Panna Cotta is quick to prepare, almost too easy, you must follow the steps carefully and use the right amount of gelatin to achieve a perfectly silky, smooth, and creamy Panna Cotta.
To make the process easier and presentation fun, I used martini glasses instead of ramekins. No un-molding necessary, it displays beautifully and you are ready to enjoy this tasty dessert as soon as the panna cotta sets. If you don’t have martini glasses on hand, you can use jars, goblets, shot glasses or any other serving ideas that you have.
The Panna Cotta is outstanding on its own, but to make it even more special and festive for the holiday season, I made a cranberry orange filling with a hint of rose water. Together the flavors are balanced with sweet, tart and aromatic tastes.
The beauty of this recipe is you can use your own creativity. Try a different fruity filling, serve with fresh berries or make a topping station for everyone to make their own Panna Cotta masterpieces.
Cranberry Almond Panna Cotta
Cranberry, orange and rose water flavors compliment a silky smooth almond panna cotta that you will find simply delightful!
2 cups Whole Milk
2 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream
½ cup Granulated Sugar
1 ½ teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 ½ teaspoons Almond Extract
1 tablespoon + ½ teaspoon Unflavored Gelatin
6 tablespoons Cold Water
Cranberry Filling – (Optional)
9 cups fresh Cranberries
3 cups Orange Juice (no pulp)
1 ½- 1 ¾ cups Granulated Sugar
4 teaspoons Rose Water or to taste
Garnish– Rolled Orange Peels (Optional)
Special Equipment: 8 Martini Glasses. Large Mesh Strainer
Prepare Cranberry Filling: Mix cranberries and orange juice in a large pot over medium to medium-high heat. Bring to a light boil then reduce to a medium simmer until cranberries have popped and softened, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. (Mixture should still contain plenty of liquid, although slightly thickened) Place a large mesh strainer over a bowl. Working in batches, spoon cranberries into strainer, pressing them with the back of a spoon and scraping back and forth to separate solids from liquid. Discards the solids and combine the strained cranberries (should yield about 3 cups), 1 ½ cups sugar and rose water back in the pot and bring to a boil until liquid begins to set (add up to additional ¼ cup sugar if needed for a thicker consistency) , about 5-7 minutes. Immediately spoon cranberry filling into martini glasses to reach 1/3 full (about 3 tablespoons per glass) and allow to completely cool while preparing panna cotta. Note: filling will continue to thicken as it cools in glasses.
Prepare Almond Panna Cotta: Whisk milk, heavy whipping cream and ½ cup sugar in a saucepan over medium to medium high heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture is hot, continuing to whisk as needed. (Do not allow mixture to boil) About 7-10 minutes.
While panna cotta mixture is heating, add 6 tablespoons cold water to a large measuring cup (at least 4 cup size or larger) or pitcher. Sprinkle gelatin over the surface of the water as evenly as possible. Let the gelatin mixture sit for 5 minutes. Pour the panna cotta mixture through a mesh strainer over the gelatin mixture and whisk until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Add vanilla and almond extracts and whisk until combined. Evenly pour panna cotta mixture over the cooled cranberry filled martini glasses leaving about ½ inch from the top. Allow panna cotta to cool to room temperature and a thin top layer has formed, about 60-75 minutes. Using a small fork or spoon, starting at the edges, carefully remove top layer of panna cotta from each glass (This is to prevent a wrinkly top from forming; instead the panna cottas will have smooth tops). Cover glasses with plastic wrap and refrigerate until panna cotta is set, about 4 hours or overnight.Garnish with rolled orange peels and serve.