Vanilla Panna Cotta

Vanilla Panna Cotta with fresh figs, orange juice reduction & leftover macaron

Panna Cotta is absolutely divine. I remember two years back when Margie at work mentioned this dessert and I actually did not know what it is. Coincidentally that week, Panna Cotta was featured on the food segment with Karen Martini on Better Homes and Gardens and my love for Panna Cotta began. What’s not to love? It is a perfect wobbly construction of cooked cream, milk, and sugar set by gelatine and commonly perfumed with vanilla. Despite  its creamy composition, it is incredibly light and when married with fruits,  makes a very apt summer dessert.

Adding to its merits, is how quick it is to make. The only waiting time is the refrigeration needed to set the cream mixture. Which is why I chose to prepare this dessert for a smallish casual dinner party of five last Saturday night. I followed the recipe from the Australian Women’s Weekly COOK, but left out the top raspberry jelly and flavoured it with additional lavender flower buds, served with fresh figs and an orange juice and peel reduction. I added the leftover macaron for plating effect 🙂  Which goes to show you can complement the panna cotta with whatever tickles your fancy: fresh fruit and berries, fruit sauces, raspberry coulis, stewed fruits. You could even try infusing your cream with herbs and tea infusions or flavour it with chocolate, coconut, various essences; really, the sky’s the limit.    

Basic Vanilla Panna Cotta
(adapted from COOK by Australian Women’s Weekly)

Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Refrigeration: 3 hours or overnight
Serves 4


2 teaspoons gelatine
1/4 cup (55g) caster sugar
2/3 cup (160ml) milk
300ml thickened cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (I put a whole teaspoon in for stronger flavour)

*for lavender panna cotta
2 heap teaspoons, edible grade lavender buds (lavandula angustifolia or English Lavender)


  1. Grease four 2/3 cup (160ml) metal moulds. (see note)
  2. Sprinkle gelatine and sugar over combined milk and cream  in a small saucepan.
  3. Stir over low heat, without boiling, until gelatine and sugar dissolve
  4. Stir in vanilla extract.
  5. Strain into medium jug
  6. Cool to room temperature
  7. Pour into moulds, cover and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.
  8. Turn panna cotta onto serving plate. 


  • I used sturdy plastic cups for moulds as I do not own metal ones. The plastic cup can be slightly bended should the panna cotta refuse to dislodge from the cup. 
  • *For the lavender panna cotta, bring the milk to the boil. As soon as it boils, take it off the heat and add in the lavender buds. Leave this aside for 30 minutes so the lavender infuses the milk. Then continue with step 2 that is, combine gelatine, sugar, lavender infused milk and cream; stir this over low heat until the gelatine and sugar dissolve. Strain the liquid into another bowl or jug mentioned in step 5 to remove the lavender buds; stir in the vanilla extract and proceed with the rest of the instructions.


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4 comments to Vanilla Panna Cotta

  • Moyang

    Mmmmm these look so yummy!
    Sexy as well, like u said. Haha

  • nat

    where is the lavender in this recipe??

  • Mei Sze

    Hi Nat,

    As mentioned, this basic vanilla panna cotta is from the Australian Womens Weekly COOK book…the lavender infusion is my own interpretation; so the recipe from AWW wouldn’t have this part. I’ve edited the entry above to include the lavender infusion option, under Notes. Hope that answers your question :)By the way, this vanilla panna cotta recipe from COOK produces a really lovely well-balanced texture for the panna cotta, not too heavy on the cream like some I’ve tasted elsewhere and also it wobbles beautifully so the gelatine amount is well-balanced with the liquid amount.Do give it a go if you’re interested 🙂

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