Panna Cotta is one of the simplest custards to make. Its formula doesn't require many ingredients to put together, can take only a few minutes to cook, and can go nicely with just about any topping or side for desserts. Today's recipe is for the simplest Panna Cotta and even includes the simplest Fruit Compote to go with it. iI addition, there will be some fun variations for those who want to experiment with their newfound skills.

The recipe


  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 6 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 3 gelatin sheet
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Compote Ingredients:

  • 2 cups frozen berries (strawberries, cherries, blueberries, etc)
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Panna Cotta Directions

  1. Combine the heavy cream, milk, and sugar in a heavy non-reactive saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Whisk the mixture as it cooks.
  2. Remove from the heat and add the gelatin sheets and vanilla extract. Whisk the mixture until the gelatin dissolves and all ingredients are fully incorporated. Let it cool down for a few minutes.
  3. Divide the custard among four ramekins (4" each). Seal the ramekins and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight to set the custard.

Fruit Compote Directions

  1. To make the compote, slice any large berries (strawberries) in half and combine the fruit, sugar, and cinnamon in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir the mixture occasionally and cook for 10 minutes or until the juice forms and thickens.
  2. Set the compote to cool down completely. Seal in a jar and refrigerate until ready for the Panna Cotta.
  3. When its time to unmold the Panna Cotta to serve, dip the ramekins in a bowl half filled with hot water for a few seconds. Gently slide a knife around the edges of the ramekins. Turn over each ramekin onto a plate and shake them slightly while holding them up with fingers to loosen the Panna Cotta.
  4. Serve with the compote.

Serves: 4


  • Peppermint - Substitute peppermint extract for the vanilla extract..
  • Buttermilk - Substitute buttermilk for the milk used in the Panna Cotta.
  • Chocolate Sauce - Substitute chocolate sauce for the compote. To make the chocolate sauce, melt 8 ounces of bittersweet chocolate and 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter in a bowl with one cup of boiled heavy cream, stirring while incorporating.
  • Coconut - Substitute coconut milk for the milk used in the Panna Cotta. Substitute toasted coconut shavings for the compote. Sprinkle the shavings over the Panna Cotta to garnish.
  • Roasted Rhubarb - Substitute 1 pound of roasted rhubarb for the compote.