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Panna Cotta with Strawberry Coulis

An elegant dessert combining smooth, creamy vanilla Panna Cotta with a bright, fruity strawberry coulis
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Corinne Gregory Sharpe


  • 6 8oz ramekins (optional)


For Panna Cotta

  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/4 oz. packet of unflavored gelatin powder, or 1 Tbsp
  • 6 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean split open, seeds scraped
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream

For Strawberry Coulis

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 1/4 oz. packet of unflavored gelatin powder, or 1 Tbsp
  • 1 1/2-2 lbs fresh strawberries
  • 2/3 cup of sugar
  • neutral oil for greasing up ramekins (if using)
  • fresh berries and mint, for garnish


For the Panna Cotta Mixture

  • Place the milk in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the top. Stir well, and set aside to allow gelatin to soften for 10 minutes.
  • If using ramekins, brush the insides of 6 4 ounce ramekins with a coating of neutral oil and set aside.
  • Fill a large bowl half-way with ice and add enough water to make an ice bath and set aside.
  • In a small saucepan, combine the cream, sugar and vanilla extract or split vanilla bean, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat, and whisk in the softened gelatin/milk mixture. Remove the vanilla bean pod and discard; and add the scraped beans to the cooling milk mixture.
  • Set the saucepan in the ice bath (making sure the top of the saucepan is well above the surface of the water), and whisk until the milk mixture is lukewarm. To make sure there is no undissolved gelatin or sugar, rub a little of the milk mixture through your fingers. There should be no gritty feeling.

To Mold the Panna Cotta Layer

  • If using ramekins: Pour the mixture into oiled ramekins and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight. If you’re going to keep them overnight, cover them with a piece plastic wrap, pressing the wrap gently against the panna cotta to prevent a skin from forming. Note that preparing the Panna Cotta more than 24 hours in advance will result in a firmer set.
  • If using clear glasses: This presentation (shown) uses clear glasses, set at an angle to create a dramatic dessert. Using a favorite shaped glass such as a stemless wine glass or round highball, take a muffin pan, and put a paper towel in each muffin slot to steady the glasses. Nestle a glass on top of each paper towel and set each glass on a diagonal. The paper towels keep the glasses in the desired position, without slipping.
  • Pour the mixture into the angled glasses, leaving about 1 inch from the upper rim of the glasses (you will fill up this space with the strawberry coulis that you prepare next).
  • Chill the Panna Cotta for a minimum of 4 hours or even better, overnight. If chilling overnight, cover each glass with a piece of plastic wrap to prevent drying out. 

For the Strawberry Coulis

  • Puree the strawberries in either a blender or a food processor until smooth. Press the pureed strawberries through a mesh strainer to separate the seeds. Pour the strained strawberry liquid into a glass measuring cup with a pouring spout.
  • In a small bowl, add 3/4 cup water, sprinkle the gelatin on top and stir well. Set aside for 10 minutes to allow the gelatin to soften.
  • Heat the gelatin/water mixture slowly in a microwave or on a stovetop. DO NOT allow it to boil. Stir well again and then add it to the strawberry puree.
  • Add the sugar. Stir well again and allow it to cool.
  • Remove the glasses or ramekins with the Panna Cotta from the refrigerator. Pour the cooled strawberry coulis on top of the Panna Cotta layer. If using clear, angled glasses, leave the glasses in the muffin tray, and pour the strawberry mixture into the glasses, keeping them at the same angle. A small pitcher works well for this process. Return the glasses or ramekins to the refrigerator and chill for another 4 hours or more, covering again with plastic if chilling for longer periods of time to prevent drying out.

To Finish & Serve

  • If using the ramekins only: About 10 minutes before serving, run a thin-bladed knife around the inside of the ramekin. Dip each ramekin briefly in a bowl of hot tap water, and then top the ramekin with a serving plate and carefully flip plate and ramekin over. If the Panna Cotta doesn’t unmold right away, tap the ramekin lightly on the countertop to loosen it. If it still doesn’t unmold, return it to the hot water bath for another five seconds and repeat. Wipe serving plate between "warm and flip" iterations to keep it clean for serving.
  • When ready to serve, garnish Panna Cotta dessert with fresh mixed berries and mint.