Italy – Panna Cotta

by Umer Butt


Desserts are something which brings happiness to people and when served at the end of a delicious dinner it really sparks a light within the people. There are many desserts which do not need any introduction and whenever anyone sees it they immediately recognize it. Europe is filled with desserts like these and many of these desserts come from Italy. Italy is a foundation for many cuisines and even the desserts from this region are regarded as one of the best. Among these desserts is a dessert called Panna Cotta. It is a dessert made by boiling heavy cream and adding stuff like sugar, vanilla extract and gelatin. It is dessert which is famous all around the world. Its flavor is different from a normal ice cream or any dessert as no milk is used in it. Gelatin is an ingredient which is specially used in it to give the cream a thick texture and add another dimension of flavor. Panna Cotta can be found in many luxurious restaurants all around the world. The best thing about this dessert is that it can be made with any flavor so there are thousands of its variations and another good factor about it is that it goes well with everything. It is incredibly easy to make and requires those ingredients which can be easily found. This dessert has been in the limelight for many years and the Italian people really admire this dish not only because of its taste but also because of its history. This is the reason it is considered to be one of the best desserts in the Italian cuisine and even there are countless cookbooks containing recipes of this amazing dessert.


Panna Cotta is an Italian word which when translated into English means “Cooked Cream”. Panna means “cream” and Cotta means “cooked”. When combined together it means cooked cream as this dish is all about cooking cream to an extent which brings a creamy texture to it.


The best thing to learn about any dish is where it was first made and in what year and all the stories behind it. Like many other Italian dishes Panna Cotta’s history also has many stories behind it. Panna Cotta is said to be originated in the region of Piedmont which is near the border of France. It is said that there has been no signs of Panna cotta before 1960’s and after this it was made here in Piedmont but it didn’t get the recognition so quickly. It was after the 2000’s in 2001 it was listed in the traditional foods of its region. This means that after the year 2000 it started to become popular and people started to pick this dessert and enjoy it more and more. After this its rise to top started as more and more countries saw this dish and introduced into their own country and soon it became so popular and one of the best desserts ever made. it is also said that in the start this dessert didn’t contain any sauce along with it and there were no garnishes as well and the main flavor which was used to make it was peach.

Another story regarding it which was never verified was that Panna Cotta was first introduced by an Hungarian woman in the region of Langhe which is also in Italy. This is said to have been taken place in the year 1900 which way before it was even being mentioned first in a book.

There is a dish mentioned in the 1879 dictionary which was called  latte inglese. It meant “English Milk”. What was strange about this dish was that it was made from the same ingredients as the modern day Panna Cotta so some speculated that this was an older version of Panna Cotta and then later its name was changed but this story was never deemed true and it is just a story that’s all.


There are many similar dishes like Panna Cotta, meaning they have either similar ingredients or similar style of preparation. These desserts are as follows.

  • Bavarian Cream: It is quite similar to Panna Cotta as it uses cream mixed with gelatin but there are eggs used in this dish which is not a common practice in Panna Cotta.
  • Blancmange: It is made with milk and cream and to thicken it gelatin and corn starch is used.
  • Custard: Normal custard is also compared with Panna Cotta and sometimes Panna Cotta is also referred to as custard as both have the same texture and mainly uses similar ingredients.


Panna Cotta has many variations. From using different flavors to using many sauces along with it. Some of these are as follows.

  • Chocolate Panna Cotta: This version of Panna Cotta is served with chocolate sauce dipped over the dessert. It looks breathtaking and tastes amazing.
  • Chamomile Panna Cotta: It is variation in which chamomile is used to give a spicy texture and also apples are added on top it.
  • Strawberry Panna Cotta: Just like chocolate strawberries are added in top of Panna Cotta and also its puree as well.
  • Yogurt and Buttermilk Panna Cotta: This version of Panna Cotta includes yogurt and milk which is added to the cream and then boiled afterwards. It adds another dimensional texture to this and tastes wonderful.
  • Coconut Panna Cotta: In this coconut is used inside the cream as well and lastly some of it is used on top of it.
  • Raspberry Panna Cotta: This version consists of small pieces of raspberry sprinkled at the top.


  • Heavy cream 2 cups
  • Gelatin leaf 1
  • Sugar 2 ½ tbsp.
  • Vanilla pod 1
  • Vanilla extract 1 tsp
  • Berries 2 cups


  • Firstly take a small bowl of water and dip your gelatin leaves in it.
  • Take a pan over a medium heat and add your heavy cream in it.
  • Add the given amount of sugar.
  • Cut the vanilla pod and add it into the pan.
  • Also add the vanilla extract.
  • Lastly take the gelatin leaves out and put them in the pan.
  • Boil the mixture and mix until everything is dissolved.
  • Once boiled strain the mixture.
  • Add the mixture into the molds and let it cool overnight.
  • Take your berries and add them in the pan
  • Add some sugar and water and let them cook.
  • Once they are in liquid form take them out.
  • Take out your Panna Cotta from the molds and place them on the plate.
  • Add your strawberries in it and serve.
  • Your dessert is ready.


COOKING TIME : 5 minutes
TOTAL TIME : 15 minutes
7-8 servings


Calories 395
Total Fat 35g
Total Carbohydrates 20g

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