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The Single Best Way to Make Panna Cotta

This simple no-bake dessert is easier to make than it looks.

Panna cotta is one of the easiest no-bake desserts we can think of. It's a custard-like chilled dessert, that comes together in a mold, and it can last like that in the fridge for a few days. The ingredient list is short and simple, although somewhat indulgent. We've used maple syrup instead of regular white sugar, to add a bit of caramel-y complexity to the sweetness of our custard.

Make this for a dinner party and your guests will be impressed by the presentation alone. You don't need to slave away in the kitchen to present a delicate, fancy dessert at your next dinner party.

However, if you prefer eating something lighter for dessert, we've got you covered with our list of healthy homemade desserts.

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

1 packet unflavored gelatin (about 1 Tbsp)
3 Tbsp water
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup half and half
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped
1/3 cup pure maple syrup, plus more for serving
Fresh berries, for serving

How to Make It

1

Cook the custard

whisking panna cotta mixture in a pot
Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!

In a small bowl, combine the packet of gelatin with the water. Let sit for 5 minutes, until the gelatin blooms. In the meantime, combine the heavy cream, half and half, vanilla pod and scraped seeds, and maple syrup in a a medium pot. Cook over medium heat, until mixture is heated through and just starting to boil.

2

Add in the gelatin

adding gelatin to panna cotta mixture in a pot
Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!

Remove from heat and add the bloomed gelatin. Stir to combine and let sit for 15 minutes, then remove the vanilla pod.

3

Pour into molds

pouring panna cotta mixture into molds
Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!

Divide the mixture among molds. You can use ramekins, a non-stick muffin pan, or silicone ice trays. Place in the fridge for at least 6 hours or overnight. If using ramekins or a muffin pan, dip the bottoms into hot water, then run a knife carefully around the edges. Flip over to get your panna cotta to slide out. If using silicone ice trays, simply push the panna cotta out by pressing on the flexible bottom.

4

Serve with berries

finished panna cotta on a plate
Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!

Serve panna cotta with fresh berries of your choice, and drizzled with maple syrup or honey. Some people like to top their panna cotta with jam, and who are we to argue.

Full Panna Cotta Recipe

  1. In a small bowl, combine the gelatin with the water. Let sit for 5 minutes, until the gelatin blooms.
  2. In the meantime, combine the heavy cream, half and half, vanilla pod and scraped seeds, and maple syrup in a medium pot. Cook over medium heat, until mixture is heated through and just starting to boil.
  3. Remove from heat and add the bloomed gelatin. Stir to combine and let sit for 15 minutes, then remove the vanilla bean.
  4. Divide the mixture among molds. You can use ramekins, a non-stick muffin pan, or silicone ice trays. Place in the fridge for at least 6 hours or overnight.
  5. Serve with fresh berries of your choice, and drizzled with maple syrup.

RELATED: The easy way to make healthier comfort foods.

3.9/5 (8 Reviews)
Mura Dominko
Mura Dominko is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!. Read more
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