Recipe: The Perfect Panna cotta (a little less cream, a bit more wobble!)

Panna cotta
Panna cotta with fresh summer berries

Creating our ultimate Panna cotta was a recent task on the team’s to do list.  Our mission was to create a simple yet stylish dessert that will wow your guests this summer, while leaving you lots of time to enjoy those precious summer days outdoors.

Our 1 Week Essential Cookery Course  has been a feature of our cooking class schedule since we opened our “Hands On” kitchens in 2007. We run the week long course about 10 times per year and little did we know how popular it would become.

It’s a social week with lots of different people attending each course, from Transition Year students to retired execs to just about anyone who thinks they would like to cook a little more.

Our last group included lots of different and lovely food tourists who had travelled from Croatia, Paris and two girls from Essex to spend some time in Dublin – perhaps catching up with some Irish friends and relatives whilst enjoying a cookery course with us.

Over time customers often asked us to create another week long course with “new recipes” so that they can return.  So we’re introducing this Summer a 1 Week Essential Cookery Course, which starts 11th May, and is packed full of delicious recipes and techniques designed to get you cooking vibrant, healthy and stylish food this summer.

Sample recipes include: Rack of Lamb with Apricot & Herb Crust, Red Pepper Souffle, Vanilla Panna Cotta, and Rhubarb Granita

Designing this course has been a real joy and we have included some super summer desserts.  My mum lives in Wales and every time we have visited over the last two years she has served this dessert (you see, she has been “perfecting it”, or so she says).

Panna cotta is traditionally an Italian dessert which translates as “cooked cream” and is a blend of cream, egg white and honey. However, many panna cotta recipes made outside Italy include gelatin and this is the one we’ll be teaching during next week’s course. The secret to our perfect panna cotta was to reduce the amount of cream in the recipe by substituting in some milk to give a “lighter” texture.

Vanilla Panna cotta

Serves 4


300ml double cream
100ml milk
75g caster sugar
1 vanilla pod split and seeds scraped out
2 leaves gelatine (each leaf 3g)
Optional garnish: fresh berries

Equipment: 4 x 6oz dariole moulds, lightly greased with unscented oil


  1. Place cream, milk, sugar and vanilla pod and seeds in a saucepan over a medium heat and stir until sugar is dissolved.
  2. Place gelatine leaves in a bowl and cover with cold water, allow to soften (2-3 minutes).  Remove gelatine from water and squeeze off any excess moisture, then stir into the hot cream, until fully dissolved.
  3. Pour the mixture into 4 dariole moulds and allow to cool, cover with cling film and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight preferably.
  4. Once set, upturn over a clean plate and tease the panna cotta from the dariole moulds with the tip of a knife.
  5. Serve chilled with fresh summer berries.

Cook’s Note: If you are having difficulty removing the panna cotta from the moulds dip them in boiling water for a mere second (any longer and the cream will melt).

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Panna cotta served in the Cookery School with Rhubarb Granita and a Tuile biscuit

For a dinner party it is nice to think of other ways to serve this dessert. In the cookery school, we poured some of the panna cotta mixture into small bowls and made a rhubarb granita (which is really just another name for sorbet).  A simple tuile biscuit creates the wow factor!

Go for it!

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