Vanilla pannacotta

Vanilla pannacotta

How to Cook Desserts
Peter Cassidy

Pannacotta translates as cooked cream, and here a cream subtly infused with the flavour of vanilla, is lightly set with gelatine. You will need 4 individual 150ml capacity pudding moulds.


Quantity Ingredient
1 teaspoon oil, to grease
400ml double cream
1/4-1/2 vanilla pod
1 pared strips lemon zest
60-75g caster sugar
2 1/2 sheets leaf gelatine
200ml whole milk, at room temperature

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
Rhubarb and vanilla compote
or Honey and thyme roasted figs
or fresh berries


  1. Brush the pudding moulds very lightly with oil; invert on a wire rack to drain.
  2. Put the cream into a saucepan with the vanilla pod and lemon zest, then bring to scalding point over a medium heat. Remove from the heat, add 60g sugar and stir to dissolve. Set aside to infuse for 15–20 minutes.
  3. Soak the gelatine in cold water until soft, about 5 minutes.
  4. Remove the vanilla and lemon zest from the infused cream and gently reheat over a low to medium heat. Squeeze the excess water out of the gelatine, then add the gelatine sheets to the warmed cream, stirring to dissolve. Strain the mixture into a bowl and add the milk. Taste and add a little more sugar if needed (there should still be enough heat in the mixture to dissolve it).
  5. Pour the mixture into the moulds and chill in the fridge for a few hours, or ideally overnight.
  6. About 20 minutes before serving, take the pannacottas out of the fridge. To turn out, dip the moulds (to the rim), in warm water for 5 seconds, then remove and gently release the pannacotta from the mould using a fingertip. (Don’t leave them in the water any longer or the pannacotta will melt.) Invert onto a plate and, while holding the mould and the plate, give a good sideways shake to release the pannacotta. Serve with a fruit compote, roasted fruit or berries.


  • For an even richer flavour, omit the milk and use 600ml double cream.

    To make cardamom pannacotta, replace the vanilla with ½–1 tsp crushed cardamom seeds. Proceed as for the main recipe.

    To make rosewater pannacotta, omit the vanilla and add ½ tsp rosewater to the pannacotta with the milk.
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